Hezbollah chief calls on Egypt to stop Gaza wall

Hezbollah chief calls on Egypt to stop Gaza wall

By | 2009-12-27T16:21:00+00:00 December 27th, 2009|News|0 Comments

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called on Egypt to stop its construction of a steel wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it could obstruct tunnels which provide a lifeline for the enclave, blockaded by Cairo and Israel.

Nasrallah told a crowd of tens of thousands of Lebanese Shiite Muslim marking the Ashura religious ceremony that Egypt should be condemned if it does not halt the wall building.

Last year Nasrallah accused Egypt of complicity with Israel in its siege of the Gaza strip.

"In addition to the siege there has been news about (building) a steel wall..to terminate the thin veins which are giving some life and some hope to Gaza," he said.

"We call on the government in Egypt and the leadership to stop the wall and flooding the tunnels and to end the siege otherwise it should be condemned by all Arabs and the Muslims," he said.

Egyptian officials have said steel tubes were being placed at several points along the 14-km (8-mile)-long border, but they did not specify their purpose.

Palestinians fear a steel barrier, deep underground, would limit or end their lifeline through hundreds of tunnels operating in an attempt to break a three-year-old Israeli-led blockade.

Tunnel-builders said some 3,000 tunnels were operational before Israel launched a three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip a year ago, but only 150 were still functional following the conflict and subsequent Israeli air raids.

"This unjust silence over besieging a whole people should not continue regardless of the excuses," Nasrallah said.

Shortly before Nasrallah’s speech tens of thousands of Shiite Muslim Lebanese, chanting "Death to America, death to Israel," marched in Hezbollah’s Beirut stronghold to commemorate the annual Ashura ritual.

A sea of men, women and children marched in the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs carrying Hezbollah’s yellow and black flags and some carried religious slogans. They beat their chests in a sign of grief over the killing of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, and chanted "O Hussein" and "We will never be humiliated."

Ashura commemorates Hussein, who was killed along with most of his family by Islamic ruler Yazid, who Shiites remember as an oppressor and murderer. Hussein’s death at Kerbala in Iraq in AD 680 is a defining moment in the history of Shiites.

Egypt is trying 26 men suspected of links with Hezbollah and accused of planning attacks inside the country. Hezbollah denies they had plans for attacks inside Egypt and says one of the men is a Hezbollah member and that he and up to 10 others were trying to supply military equipment to Hamas-run Gaza.