Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is “vastly experienced in the disappointments of south Lebanon,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Hezbollah’s Nur radio station in an interview marking 20 years since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Nasrallah said that “the term ‘Israel is weaker than cobwebs’ was coined back then, with the Israeli military’s downfall.”

Gantz, a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, commanded the military’s Lebanon Liaison Unit until Israel withdrew from the Lebanese security zone in May 2000.

Speaking about the 2006 Lebanon War, Nasrallah, whose organization is Iran’s largest proxy in the Middle East, said, “The fighting spirit with which we defeated Israel still exists and our faith in our fighters is steadfast.”

Furthermore, he said, Hezbollah was much more capable today than it was in 2006.

“Today, we have capabilities we did not have in 2006, in terms of mind wars and war-planning. Israel knows it cannot underestimate the deterrence we have created. They know that no strike on Lebanon will go unanswered,” he said.

Fueling conspiracy theories, as he routinely does, Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah’s “success” in 2000 “prevented Lebanon from plunging into the civil war that Israel planned to ignite.”

Touching on the civil war in Syria, which Hezbollah has been heavily involved in as part of Iran’s efforts to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, Nasrallah claimed that Israel had supported opposition groups in the country.

“There are opposition groups that received support from Israel. It wanted the Assad regime to fall and for Hezbollah forces to return to Lebanon,” he said.

He also commented on Israel’s “Operation Northern Shield” in the winter of 2019, during which the Israeli military destroyed an extensive grid of tunnels under the Lebanon-Israel border, saying that “all Israel cared about was informing Lebanon that the tunnels were discovered.”

Israel filed a grievance with the United Nations Security Council over the tunnel network, as well as over the U.N.’s peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said at the time that information Israel provided to UNIFIL had been passed on to the Lebanese Army, which then passed it to Hezbollah.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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