Hezbollah Leader: Group Is on Alert, Won't Abandon Hamas

The leader of Lebanese militant Hezbollah said Sunday that he has asked his men to be on alert in southern Lebanon in case Israel attacks and promised not to abandon Hamas.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said he feared a possible Israeli attack but said Hezbollah was ready to confront any aggression against Lebanon. He did not threaten to launch attacks against Israel

His comments came as Israel continued two days of intensive air raids against Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. The strikes have killed some 280 people in Gaza since Saturday.

"I have asked the brothers in the resistance, especially in the south, to be present and cautious because we are facing a treacherous and criminal enemy," Nasrallah said. "We are not scared of what happened in July 2006 nor what is happening in Gaza."

Hezbollah fought a 34-day war with Israel in the summer of 2006 that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and 159 in Israel.

Nasrallah spoke from a secret location through a giant screen to hundreds of supporters who gathered in Hezbollah's stronghold of Beirut's southern suburbs.

He called for a massive rally south of Beirut in support of Gaza on Monday afternoon pledging not to leave Gaza "alone." He made it clear that his group will not use its arms to support Hamas but through rallies and campaigns to end the attacks against Gaza.

Nasrallah also launched a strong verbal attack against the Egyptian government saying if it does not open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza then "you are taking part in the crime" against Palestinians.

He called on the Egyptian people to rise and open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to end the suffering of the Palestinian people.

"Some personalities are conspiring against the nation. Some 300 Palestinians were slaughtered within minutes and an Arab official blamed the victim (Hamas) for being responsible," he said, in an apparent reference to comments by Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit

"No one is asking Egypt to open a front (with Israel) but to open the border crossing so that medicine and food can reach Gaza," he said.