Ten years after Lebanon war, Netanyahu warns of \'iron fist\'
JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel would respond with an "iron fist" if attacked, in a speech marking 10 years since a devastating conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Netanyahu described the war as "a clash between an extremist terror organisation with an Islamist ideology and a free democratic Israel".
"We are in a global battle. We are aware of the nature of the threats we face, and are preparing for any scenario," he said at a ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery.
"If the quiet is kept, those facing us will enjoy quiet. But if the need arises, we will respond to aggression -- and the response will be powerful. Whoever thinks they will find 'spider webs' here will get... an iron fist."
The Israeli premier was alluding to a 2000 speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in which he called the Jewish state "feebler than a spider's web".
The 2006 conflict erupted when Israel retaliated for a cross-border raid in which Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three, and quickly spiralled into a fully fledged war.
Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into northern Israel, which carried out devastating strikes across Lebanon.
Many people in Israel considered the massive ground and air war on Lebanon to be a failure because it did not halt Hezbollah rocket fire or recover the two captured soldiers.
It lasted 34 days and led to the deaths of 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.