Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah raised concerns amongst his supporters Tuesday after he revealed that he has been unwell and coughed throughout his televised speech.
The Shia Muslim paramilitary leader, who spoke via television on the 21st anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon, could be seen speaking with discomfort throughout his address to supporters.
“I apologise for my absence from Quds Day until today, I have been suffering from heavy coughing, making it difficult for me to speak,” Nasrallah said during his roughly 100-minute speech, in reference to an annual event staged by Iran to show its alleged support for the Palestinian cause
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Many wondered why Nasrallah was absent throughout the latest round of Israeli violence in Gaza and the occupied West Bank which killed more than 250 Palestinians, while Hamas rocket fire led to 12 Israeli deaths.
Nasrallah claimed the 11-day bombardment of Gaza to be a victory for the Palestinians, warning that Israel’s continued attacks on holy sites in Jerusalem “means regional war”.
Nasrallah has only come out in public a few times since the 2006 summer war his group fought with Israel – a state which Hezbollah does not recognise – although the leader makes frequent televised speeches.
Israel also considers the group to be a terrorist organisation.