Hezbollah Threatens Israel With War

BEIRUT -- Hezbollah's chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday threatened Israel with "open war," after accusing the Jewish state of killing one of its top commanders.

"Zionists, if you want this type of open war then let the whole world hear: let it be an open war," Nasrallah told mourners at the funeral of Imad Moughniyah, a legend to Hezbollah but one of the men most wanted by Israel and the United States for planning attacks that killed hundreds.

Moughniyah, hunted by Israel and the United States for two decades, was killed by a bomb in Damascus on Tuesday.

The Jewish state put its embassies and other interests abroad on high alert and boosted troop deployments on the Lebanese border for fear of reprisal.

"We have the right, like all human beings, of self-defense and, God willing, we will do whatever is required to defend our brothers, leaders, people and our country," Nasrallah said, addressing the mass funeral via video link.

Nasrallah said that while Moughniyah's assassination delivered the group a painful blow, it would not weaken it or its military structure. A visibly emotional Nasrallah said Moughniyah had played a major role in Hezbollah's 34-day war against Israel in 2006.

Moughniyah's funeral took place shortly after a rally by the anti-Syrian ruling coalition to mark the third anniversary of the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

A large crowd waving red, white and green Lebanese flags, gathered in pouring rain at Martyrs' Square in the center of Beirut to listen to speeches by anti-Syrian leaders, including Hariri's son and political heir, Saad.