(TIMESOFISRAEL) — The leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, rallied hundreds of cheering supporters Friday with pledges of support for Palestinians and vicious anti-Israel rhetoric. Israel was “a cancerous growth” that had to be wiped out, he said. “The only solution is to destroy it without giving it the opportunity to surrender.”
Speaking on Quds Day, Nasrallah said “the elimination of Israel is not only a Palestinian interest. It is the interest of the entire Muslim world and the entire Arab world.”
Nasrallah’s first public appearance in almost a year, and his longest speech in public for several years, came as Lebanon’s president vowed not to be intimidated after two rockets struck near the presidential palace. The rocket volley followed President Michel Suleiman criticizing Hezbollah’s involvement in the civil war ravaging neighboring Syria, violence that has spread into Lebanon.
In his speech Friday, Nasrallah did not directly mention the rockets. Instead, he vowed to remain loyal to the Palestinian cause and appeared to be speaking mostly to his Shi’ite base in Lebanon and across the Muslim world.