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Hezbollah Leader Predicts UN Hariri Court Will 'Disappear'


Lebanese Hezbollah supporters, raise their fists as they listen to Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speak, on a giant screen, during Ashura day, in the suburbs of Beirut, 16 Dec 2010

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters, raise their fists as they listen to Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speak, on a giant screen, during Ashura day, in the suburbs of Beirut, 16 Dec 2010

The head of the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah says the United Nations-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, will "disappear with the wind."

Hassan Nasrallah called the tribunal a "conspiracy" and pledged to defeat its efforts to indict Hezbollah members or anyone else in Mr. Hariri's assassination.

Nasrallah spoke Thursday in a televised address to thousands of his supporters in Hezbollah's stronghold in southern Beirut, on the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura.

His comments came amid media reports the tribunal may indict Hezbollah members in Mr. Hariri's assassination. He and 22 other people were killed in a blast as they traveled through downtown Beirut in February 2005.

Nasrallah denies Hezbollah played a role in Mr. Hariri's murder and has vowed to "cut the hand" of anyone who tries to arrest Hezbollah members. Syria, which supports Hezbollah along with Iran, has also denied involvement in the murder.

In other remarks, Nasrallah called on Arab states to halt peace talks with Israel and join Hezbollah in its fight against the Jewish state. He said Hezbollah will never be intimidated by Israel.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006.

Hezbollah shares power in Lebanon's fragile unity government, which launched reconciliation talks between rival political parties in 2008 following deadly sectarian clashes that lasted more than a year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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