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Hezbollah Leader Regrets Kidnapping that Led to War with Israel

  • VOA News

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says he regrets the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers that sparked more than a month of warfare with Israel.

Nasrallah told Lebanese television that if he had known the kidnapping would have led to such a war, he would not do it again.

Hezbollah seized the two Israeli soldiers during a cross-border raid July 12th in which other Israeli soldiers were killed. The raid led to 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah fighters and widespread destruction in Lebanon.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to visit Beirut Monday. The United Nations is to expand its two-thousand-strong force in southern Lebanon to 15-thousand soldiers.

In an interview with Time magazine, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said the objective of the expanded force is not to destroy Hezbollah.

D'Alema calls Hezbollah an important part of Lebanese society, and says he hopes it will transform into a legitimate political movement.

He also says that if Hezbollah resumes hostilities against Israel, the group knows "it must face the international community."

Italy is to contribute up to three-thousand soldiers to the U.N. force.

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