Egypt and Hizballah in war of words over Gaza

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Monday mocked Hizballah as weak and disgraceful after the Lebanese terror group's leader called on Egyptians to defy their government a day earlier.

In a televised address on Sunday, Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah slammed Egypt for blaming the violence in Gaza on Hamas, and called upon Egyptians to rise up in their millions to force their government to open its border with Gaza.

Nasrallah even reportedly urged the Egyptian military to act independently of the political leadership and help "secure what is needed of the Gaza resistance."

In an interview on Egyptian television on Monday evening, Gheit responded by saying the Egyptian military exists to defend Egypt, and that Cairo would not hesitate to use it against threats like Nasrallah.

"The Egyptian armed forces are tasked with defending Egypt. If need be, they will also protect Egypt against people like you," Gheit said in direct reference to the Hizballah leader, whom he accused of "practically declaring war on Egypt."

Gheit went on to mock Hizballah as comparatively weak when stacked up against the Egyptian army, and noted that for all its declarations of victory over Israel in 2006, all Hizballah had accomplished was to set Lebanon back decades.

Another senior official with Egypt's ruling party told London-based Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday that Cairo ultimately holds Iran responsible for Nasrallah's outburst.

Iran is Hizballah's primary sponsor.

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