BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Monday his group possesses an arsenal of rockets that can reach all of Israel, including Tel Aviv.
"We could absolutely reach any corner and any point in occupied Palestine," Nasrallah said in excerpts of an interview with Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera.
The interview is to be shown in full later Monday.
Nasrallah said last year’s war between Israel and Hezbollah did not succeed in diminishing his group’s military capabilities.
Repeating earlier claims, the Hezbollah leader said his group could already have fired at Tel Aviv last summer during the conflict, but had avoided doing so.
"In July and August 2006, there wasn’t a place in occupied Palestine that the rockets of the resistance could not reach, be it Tel Aviv or other cities," he said, describing Israel and the Hezbollah guerrillas in terms usually used by the group.
"We could absolutely do that now," he added.
Nasrallah has previously said his group increased its stock of missiles since the war ended, despite attempts to keep arms from being smuggled into southern Lebanon.
In a speech in October, he said the guerrillas had 33,000 rockets—up from the 22,000 he said they had on Sept. 22.
"We in the resistance have weapons, and we openly declare that we have weapons, that we are completing our preparedness for a greater and more dangerous stage," Nasrallah said at the time.
Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets at northern Israel during the 34- day conflict, including several medium-range missiles that for the first time hit Israel’s third-largest city, Haifa.
Nasrallah warned during the war that he had weapons that could reach Tel Aviv. Although the city was never targeted, Hezbollah’s targets struck deeper inside Israel than ever before, hitting on at least one occasion the town of Hadera, about 30 miles north of Tel Aviv.
The war began on July 12, 2006, after Hezbollah fighters crossed into Israel, killing three soldiers and seizing two—who are still in captivity.
Israel then invaded southern Lebanon and pounded the country with massive bombardments that destroyed most roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
More than 1,000 Lebanese _mostly civilians_ were killed in the fighting, while 158 Israelis died, including 119 soldiers.