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Israel, Hezbollah threaten war – again

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah hurled the latest warning on Friday, a month after 60 blasts at a suspected Hezbollah weapons cache in southern Lebanon heightened tensions.

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Israel and its arch foe Hezbollah are waging an increasingly heated war of words, fanning concerns about another bruising encounter between the two enemies who fought a devastating but inconclusive conflict in 2006.

In a keynote speech Friday night marking the third anniversary of that war's end, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah outlined his strategy for Lebanon to deter Israel from launching another offensive. Responding to Israeli threats to flatten southern Lebanese villages and infrastructure, he vowed to attack Tel Aviv if Israel targeted Beirut or its southern suburbs, where Hezbollah's headquarters are.

"We are now capable of attacking any city or village throughout Israel," he said, dismissing recent Israeli threats against Hezbollah as psychological warfare. "When Israelis talk a lot, it means that they will do nothing. However, when they are silent like a snake we have to be cautious." Nasrallah's comments, delivered via a live video feed to a crowd of flag-waving supporters and invited politicians, were the latest in a month-long barrage of threats from both sides of the Lebanon-Israel border.

The saber-rattling, touched off in mid-July by explosions near an alleged Hezbollah weapons cache here in the hills of south Lebanon, seems driven more by a fear that the other side will take action, than a desire to launch a fresh round of fighting, say analysts and United Nations peacekeepers here.

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