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Hezbollah's Nasrallah denies reports of ill-health

The speech on the militant group's Al Manar television station blamed a coordinated media campaign against the Shiite leader for creating rumors that he had cancer.

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Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah made a television appearance Wednesday to deny reports that he was suffering from cancer. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made a rare television appearance on Wednesday to dispel rumors that he was in ill-health.

The speech, aired on the militant group's Al Manar television station, blamed a coordinated media campaign against the Shiite leader for rumors that he had cancer.

"The rumors spread in the previous days made me hold an urgent media appearance to show you that I am in good health. ... There is a media campaign against Hezbollah," Nasrallah said, reported UPI.

The Hezbollah leader was referring to Lebanese and Turkish media reports that he has been taken to Tehran to receive treatment for cancer.

Nasrallah said the rumors were baseless.

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During the speech Nasrallah also denied that his second in command, Naim Qassem, had been injured (some reports say killed) in an explosion on a convoy in Syria.

The report of the injury was in the anti-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper and television station Al Mustaqbal, reported Ynet News.

The news organization said that Qassem had been traveling with top Syrian officials when the explosion occurred.

YaLibnan reported that some media reports even speculated that Nasrallah had been injured by Free Syrian Army shelling.

The reclusive leader has rarely been seen in public after the war with Israel in 2006.

His televised speeches always occur from undisclosed locations.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/lebanon/130227/hezbollahs-nasrallah-denies-reports-ill-health