Hezbollah's leader on Friday vowed vengeance for a car bomb attack in Beirut that killed 22 people on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“To the killers: Our hands will reach you,” Nasrallah, general secretary of Hezbollah, a militant group considered a terrorist organization by the United States, said in a Friday speech aired via satellite, reported the LA Times. His comments appear to mark the first such call for revenge from the group, said the LA Times.
On Thursday, United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence in Beirut as "completely unacceptable." The bombing left at least 22 people dead and some 300 wounded.
The explosion hit the city's southern Rweiss district, a known Hezbollah stronghold. The incident is currently under investigation by Lebanese authorities.
Meanwhile, a previously unknown Islamist group believed tied to Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed responsibility for the attack in an online video released on Thursday.
Identifying themselves as the "Brigades of Aisha," the Sunni Islamist group addressed Nasrallah directly, saying: "This is the second time that we decide the place of the battle and its timing ... And you will see more, God willing," reported Reuters.
This is indeed the second such attack in Lebanon in little over a month. In July, a car bomb struck the same Abed area, according to Lebanon's Daily Star.
Tensions have been rising in Lebanon due to the bloody conflict in nearby Syria, where Hezbollah is believed involved, adding to fears of a spillover in violence.
Nasrallah on Friday cautioned his supporters in their response to the Beirut bombing, saying it was intended to draw the nation into the Syrian war, according to BBC News. Other Syrian groups have also reportedly warned they would revenge themselves on Hezbollah over its actions in Syria, where the conflict has taken an estimated 100,000 lives.
"I will go myself to Syria if it is necessary in the battle against the takfiris [Sunni radicals]," BBC cited Nasrallah as saying on his TV channel.
At the same time, according to the LA Times, Nasrallah also promised to boost its presence in Syria if that was considered necessary. “If we have a thousand fighters in Syria, they will become 2,000, and if we have 5,000 fighters in Syria, they will become 10,000," he said, a statement the LA Times said drew big cheers from a crowd of supporters watching the speech.
“And if the battle with those terrorists requires it, I and all of Hezbollah will go to Syria," Nasrallah declared, according to the Times.
Here's footage of the blast in Beirut on Thursday, as carried by CNN: