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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 January 2008, 12:16 GMT
Hezbollah has Israel 'body parts'
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah in southern Beirut
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has defied Israeli threats to kill him
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says his armed group has body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon during the 2006 conflict.

He said they had the "heads, the hands, the feet and even a nearly intact cadaver" in a speech marking his first public appearance in more than a year.

He addressed Shia Muslim supporters at a rally in southern Beirut to celebrate the holy Shia commemoration of Ashura.

Israel launched a major campaign against Hezbollah in July 2006.

The 34-day war started with a border incursion by Lebanon-based Hezbollah, who killed eight Israeli soldiers and snatched two more.

About 1,200 people - including civilians and Hezbollah fighters - died in Lebanon during the conflict and about 160 Israelis - mainly soldiers - were killed during the conflict.

Body parts of Israeli soldiers have previously been used in prisoner exchanges between the two sides.

Stadium rally

Surrounded by bodyguards as he walked through a Shia neighbourhood in southern Beirut on Saturday, the Hezbollah leader was greeted by supporters chanting "God protect Nasrallah," and "Death to America, Death to Israel".

Israeli soldiers with a casualty during the 2006 war
Israeli soldiers suffered casualties during incursions into Lebanon

Hezbollah's al-Manar television station said one million people had turned out for the event.

Sheikh Nasrallah told the crowds: "Our fighters were fighting and confronting these Zionists. They were killing them and collecting the remains of their bodies.

"I am not talking about insignificant bodily remains. I tell the Israelis we have heads, hands, legs of your soldiers. We also have a nearly intact cadaver from the head down to the pelvis."

Sheikh Nasrallah's last public appearance was in September 2006, after the war which Hezbollah claimed as a "victory". He had gone into hiding during the war amid Israeli threats to kill him.

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