- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2000

BEIRUT, Lebanon The leader of the militant Islamic group Hezbollah warned the United States yesterday against moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying attackers would send the Americans home "in coffins."
"You (Americans) can move your embassy (to Jerusalem) and send your diplomats there. But the honorable (Arab) people can turn your embassy to rubble and return your diplomats in coffins," Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said.
"This is the only logic that the Americans and the Israelis understand," he said at a rally in the southern Lebanese village of Jibsheet.
Hundreds of supporters interrupted his fiery speech with cries of "Allahu Akbar," or God is Great.
President Clinton said Friday that he was considering moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a proposal that infuriated Arabs, many of whom saw it as proof of a pro-Israeli bias by the United States.
The Palestinians demand sovereignty over Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel has long insisted that Jerusalem remain united under exclusive Israeli sovereignty. Almost all countries have refused to move their embassies to Jerusalem until the city's status is resolved.
Conflicting claims over east Jerusalem were the main stumbling block at the 14-day Camp David summit between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which ended last week without agreement.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group battled Israeli troops occupying southern Lebanon from the early 1980s until May, when the Israelis withdrew.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group fought Israeli troops in southern Lebanon before they withdrew in May, ending an 18-year occupation.
Hezbollah was linked in the 1980s to a series of attacks against American interests and personnel in Lebanon. It was believed to be the umbrella group for pro-Iranian militants who claimed responsibility for the 1983 suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine base in Beirut, two attacks that killed 258 Americans.
Hezbollah, however, has never carried out bomb attacks within Israel.

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