- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday in Lebanon that his Islamist militant group would conquer parts of Israel if there were a new war with the Jewish state.

“I say to the fighters of the Islamic resistance: Be ready. If a new war is imposed on Lebanon, we may ask you to take Galilee, to free Galilee,” Mr. Nasrallah said in a televised address, referring to the northern part of Israel.

Hezbollah fired thousands of Katyuska rockets at towns in the Galilee area in Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, forcing more than a million Israelis to flee southward or take refuge in bomb shelters during the 34-day conflict.

Since then, the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia — designated a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union — is estimated to have amassed an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets, many with the range to hit Tel Aviv.

“I hope the people of Israel have good bomb shelters,” Mr. Nasrallah said in his speech.

He also vowed to avenge the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh, widely thought to be the work of Israel.

“To the Zionist generals, I say: Anywhere you go in the world, at any time, watch out, for the blood of Imad Mughniyeh will not go to waste,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that “no one should doubt Israel’s strength or its ability to defend itself.”

Referring to Mr. Nasrallah, he said, “Whoever hides in a bunker should stay in the bunker.”