Hezbollah leader makes first public appearance in years
Hassan Nasrallah has rarely been seen in public since 2006
The head of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, made his first
public appearance since 2006 at a rally in Beirut. Nasrallah rarely been
seen in public since Hezbollah helped battle Israel in a month-long war
in 2006. He has since kept a very low profile, fearing Israeli
The head of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, made his first public appearance since 2006 at a rally in Beirut. Nasrallah rarely been seen in public since Hezbollah helped battle Israel in a month-long war in 2006.
Nasrallah was seen walking through a throng of people in a southern Shia stronghold in Beirut this before he addressed a crowd marking the religious festival of Ashoura.
Nasrallah said in his address, made in the suburb of Dahiya was a message to those who believed they could "threaten us.
"I wanted to be with you for a few minutes ... to renew our pledge and for the world to hear us," Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah was "here to stay" and would never give up its weapons.
"We are increasing in numbers and in weapons ... and for those who are betting that our weapons are rusting, we say that our weapons are being renewed," he said.
Beaming with a smile, Nasrallah then left the podium, telling tens of thousands of supporters he would reappear in few minutes on a giant screen for a longer speech.
"See you in few minutes," he joked to his followers before he left.
His appearance is being seen as an attempt to portray confidence at a time of upheaval in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, which along with Iran is Hezbollah's main backer.
The 51-year-old Nasrallah became the third Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary organization Hezbollah after Israel assassinated the previous leader, Abbas al-Musawi, in 1992. Hezbollah in its entirety is considered a terrorist organization by The United States, the Netherlands, Israel, and Canada. The group's military wing is considered a proscribed terrorist group by the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia.
Many Syrians and Arabs around the region have since elevated Nasrallah to the status of a nationalist hero after the success of Hezbollah fighters against Israel in 2006.
Since the Syrian uprising, however, many Syrians have unleashed their anger at Hezbollah over its support for President Bashar al-Assad's rule. In addition, some protesters in Syria have set fire to the yellow flag of Hezbollah and pictures of Nasrallah.
The day of Ashoura is marked by Muslims as a whole, but for Shia Muslims it is a major religious festival which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Hassan Nasrallah. Lebanon, Syria, Iran
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