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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Nasrallah Claims Hezbollah Is Working at Full Strength

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah urged Arabs and Muslims worldwide to support his guerrillas, saying Sunday that his group is fighting Israel on their behalf and that the battle has just begun.

A confident-looking Nasrallah said in a speech aired on his Al-Manar TV that Hezbollah guerrillas were at their "full strength" and that the group had "no choice" but to hit the northern Israeli city of Haifi with rockets Sunday after Israel struck civilians in Lebanon.

"As long as the enemy acts without limitations, it is our right to act similarly," he said.

Nasrallah said he taped the message at 1 p.m. Sunday, dispelling reports that he had been hurt in the massive Israeli bombing of his headquarters overnight Sunday as some Israeli reports said. The message was aired about six hours after that time.

"We are in our full strength and power. We will choose the place and the time, and we will not let the enemy impose the means or place to use their weapons," he said.

Facing criticism by some in Lebanon that Hezbollah dragged the country into a fight with Israel by snatching two soldiers last week, Nasrallah sought to rally Lebanese and the Arab and Islamic world behind his fighters, painting the battle as a chance for the Arab and Islamic world to deal a defeat to Israel.

"You Arab and Muslim people must take a position toward your future, the future of your children," he said. "The peoples of the Arab and Islamic world have a historic opportunity to score a defeat against the Zionist enemy ... We are providing the example. "Hezbollah is not fighting a battle for Hezbollah or even for Lebanon but for the Islamic nation," he said. He denied Israeli claims that Iran had sent members of its elite Revolutionary Guards to help Hezbollah. "I completely deny the presence of any Iranian troops," he said.