Hezbollah says it shot helicopter

A043504813.jpgThe leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon has acknowledged that his group was responsible for the shooting down last week of a Lebanese army helicopter.

Hassan Nasrallah said the shooting was a mistake. A Hezbollah fighter opened fire after being taken by surprise when the aircraft landed nearby.

Hezbollah, a militant and political group, has faced widespread criticism over the shooting.

One of the pilots was killed and the helicopter was forced to crash-land.

Hassan Nasrallah said the man who shot at the helicopter was an “honourable resistor”, and had asked to be handed over to the Lebanese judicial authorities.

Hezbollah says it is co-operating fully with the investigation into the incident.

Hezbollah’s continued deployment in southern Lebanon and its holding on to its weapons are highly controversial issues.

The movement is militarily far stronger than the Lebanese national army.

But a policy statement by Lebanon’s national unity government recognises Hezbollah’s right to use all means possible to “liberate” Lebanese land that Lebanon says is occupied by Israel.

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