Hezbollah Leader Threatens Tel Aviv

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 3, 2006; 2:37 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Hezbollah's leader offered Thursday to stop rocket attacks on northern Israel in return for an end to airstrikes throughout Lebanon.

However, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah also vowed to fire rockets into Tel Aviv if Israel strikes Beirut proper. Israeli warplanes have repeatedly bombarded Hezbollah strongholds in southern suburbs of Beirut.

"If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity... We will bomb Tel Aviv," he said in a taped televised speech.

In issuing the threat, Nasrallah offered his first opening toward diminishing the three-week-old conflict, which has taken more than 500 Lebanese lives and killed more than 50 Israelis.

"Anytime you decide to stop your campaign against our cities, villages, civilians and infrastructure, we will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city," he said.

In his statement, Nasrallah also said his fighters have inflicted "maximum casualties" on Israeli ground troops and that his guerrillas are "fighting until the last breath and last bullet."

© 2006 The Associated Press