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http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=2814393 Lebanon's Hizbollah Says Won't Lay Down Arms Sun May 25, 2003 03:10 PM ET BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian-backed Hizbollah group vowed Sunday not lay down its arms, despite growing U.S. pressure on Damascus to rein in the Shi'ite Muslim guerrillas. At a rally marking three years since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon, Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah urged fellow Arabs in Iraq and the Palestinian territories to take up arms and drive "occupation" forces off their land. "They want to disarm us, but we refuse to do so.. Today we need to keep betting on the resistance," he told thousands of people in the eastern city of Baalbek, the group's strong-hold. Hizbollah, also backed by Iran, waged a war of attrition that played a crucial role in ending Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon on May 25, 2000. The group has since clashed with Israeli troops in the disputed Shebaa Farms border area. Secretary of State Colin Powell used his visits to Damascus and Beirut this month to demand steps to rein in the group, which Washington believes was behind the bombing of its marine barracks and kidnapping of Westerners during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in remarks published Sunday that his country would continue to support Hizbollah for as long as the group limits its operations to defending Lebanon from potential Israeli threats. Nasrallah said armed resistance was the only viable weapon against occupation, and that the Lebanese experience in south Lebanon south could be repeated elsewhere in the region. "What we want to confirm is that what happened on May 25 is not an exception...but can happen in any country whose land is occupied and whose people have chosen to resist," he said. "(The) Palestinian people made this choice and scored great achievements in the last three years and...the people of Iraq have only the choice of resistance," he added, referring to the Palestinian uprising against Israel and U.S. occupation of Iraq. Hizbollah, a fixture on Washington's list of "terrorist" groups, denies it was behind the U.S. marine barracks attack and accusations that it is a "terrorist" group active abroad. Cheered on by men, women and children chanting "Death to America, Death to Israel," Nasrallah warned against any U.S. or Israeli attack on Lebanon or its political master Syria. "The greatest mistake the U.S. administration or the government of (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon could commit is to launch any time soon a military aggression against Lebanon or Syria, because this aggression would be met with the resistance of suicide bombers," he said. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo. http://search.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk