Hezbollah holds drill


Hezbollah said it conducted a major military drill in southern Lebanon.

The Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia said Monday that its fighters held an exercise over the weekend in the south of the country, which has been controlled by U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese troops since last year’s war with Israel.

The exercise apparently was meant to discourage Israel from attacking again.

“Hezbollah must be ready and prepared so it won’t be taken by surprise,” Sheik Naim Kassem, Hezbollah’s deputy chief, said in a television interview.

Kassem said the exercise did not include armed Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon, where the militia is officially banned from operating. The United Nations’ peacekeeping force and Lebanese army denied there had been a military drill in the area.

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