Hezbollah Chief "Deceived" Iran Leader With Gun Gift

JERUSALEM — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah deceived Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by giving him a gun he claimed was taken from an Israeli soldier in the 2006 war, an Israeli newspaper said Sunday.

(AFP)

JERUSALEM — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah deceived Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by giving him a gun he claimed was taken from an Israeli soldier in the 2006 war, an Israeli newspaper said Sunday.

The mass-selling Yediot Aharonot said the gun, which Nasrallah presented to Ahmadinejad in person on his controversial two-day visit to Lebanon, was a type of weapon not been used by the Israeli military since the early 1970s.

The paper quoted a military spokesperson as saying the weapon was "most likely" a FNFAL 7.62 rifle that went out of use in 1974, meaning it could not have been taken from soldiers during Israel's more recent invasion of Lebanon.

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah  (R) presents Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with what Hezbollah says is an Israeli rifle captured by the guerrilla group's fighters in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, during their meeting at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut

A military spokesman contacted by AFP declined to comment on the report.

The devastating 34-day war in the summer of 2006 claimed the lives of some 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, and destroyed much of southern Lebanon.

The war was widely seen as a victory for Nasrallah's Shiite Lebanese movement, which continued to fire hundreds of rockets on northern Israel until the end of the fighting and prevented Israeli forces from recovering two soldiers whose capture in a deadly cross-border raid had sparked the conflict.

In this photo released by Hezbollah media office, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday

Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon, in which he again predicted Israel's demise from a Hezbollah stronghold near the border, was condemned as "provocative" by the United States and Israel.

Israel views Iran as its main strategic threat because of Tehran's harsh rhetoric, its controversial nuclear enrichment programme and its support for both Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas movement ruling Gaza.