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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007, 02:06 GMT
Hezbollah head hails resignation
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. File photo
Sheikh Nasrallah: "When I heard the news, I was happy"
Hezbollah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has welcomed the resignation of Israeli army chief Lt-Gen Dan Halutz in the wake of the two sides' summer conflict.

Sheikh Nasrallah told his movement's al-Manar TV in Lebanon: "Any of them that don't resign will be forced out."

Gen Halutz said he was taking responsibility for the failures of the Israeli military campaign.

Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers in July, and killing of eight others, sparked 34 days of fighting.

A UN-brokered truce ended the conflict, in which more than 1,200 people died.

'Fresh action'

In a three-hour interview broadcast live, Sheikh Nasrallah told al-Manar he had been "happy" when he heard of Gen Halutz' resignation.

It's the first war that Israel has lost and in which it's failed to achieve its objectives
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
He said the move showed that Israel had been plunged into a "crisis of leadership".

"Since the end of the war we had been expecting Halutz to resign and [Defence Minister Amir] Peretz and [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert to follow him," Sheikh Nasrallah added.

"It's the first war that Israel has lost and in which it's failed to achieve its objectives."

On Lebanon's internal political crisis, Sheikh Nasrallah said Hezbollah and other opposition groups, who have been campaigning for the removal of the pro-Western government of Fouad Siniora, would announce a new phase of action in the coming days.

The BBC Jim Muir in Beirut says there is speculation this may include a general strike.

The opposition, with Hezbollah at the forefront, has been carrying out daily protests against Mr Fouad Siniora.

It is demanding the formation of a new administration in which its allies have the power of veto.

Sheikh Nasrallah's address comes the week before international donors discuss whether to approve billions of dollars in aid for Lebanon.

Our correspondent says those donors will be looking to Lebanon's politicians from all parties for reassurance that political tensions will not derail their plans for Lebanon's reconstruction.






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