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Hezbollah rejects deployment of U.S. ship

Hezbollah rejects deployment of U.S. ship

Hezbollah yesterday rejected the deployment of U.S. warships off the coast of Lebanon, calling it a threat to Lebanese sovereignty and independence that will not affect the militant group.
"We are facing an American threat against Lebanon," Hezbollah legislator Hassan Fadlallah said. "It is clear this threat and intimidation will not affect us," he said on local television.
Hezbollah is leading the opposition seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government in Beirut. The group fought Israel in the 2006 war and is believed linked to Muslim militants who attacked U.S. forces and diplomats in Lebanon in 1983-84 during the Lebanese civil war, killing about 270.
Officials in Washington said Thursday the U.S. Navy was sending at least three ships, including at least one amphibious assault ship, to the eastern Mediterranean Sea in a show of strength during a period of tensions with Syria and political uncertainty in Lebanon.
Fadlallah, speaking on Aljadeed television, called on the government of Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to reject the deployment as well.
Saniora was expected to address the matter later in the day.
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday the deployment should not be viewed as threatening or in response to events in any single country in the volatile region.
But the decision to send the ships appeared to be a not-too-subtle show of U.S. force in the region as international frustration mounts over a long political deadlock in tiny, weak Lebanon. The United States blames Syria for the impasse, saying Syria has never given up its ambitions to control its smaller neighbor.
The presidential election in Lebanon has been delayed 15 times. Just this week the date was pushed back to March 11.
Fadlallah said Hezbollah would not be affected by "threats and intimidation and such American military shows which do not affect our choices and decisions."
"Lebanese sovereignty and independence are clearly threatened through these direct American moves," he added.
Stretching its military muscle is "proof of failure" of the United States, the Hezbollah lawmaker said. "There is a clear American decision to interfere directly through military pressure," he added.


Updated : 2021-05-08 03:20 GMT+08:00