Middle East News
Former Hezbollah chief lashes at the group's current leadership
Jan 27, 2007, 15:00 GMT
Ain Bourday, Lebanon - General Sheikh Sobhi Tofaili, the former top leader of the Lebanese party Hezbollah, on Saturday lashed out at the group's current leadership headed by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, accusing them of carrying out orders from Iran.
'Sheikh Nasrallah is in charge of implementing the political policies of (Iranian supreme spiritual leader) Ali Khameini in Lebanon,' Tofaili said in a press conference at his home in eastern Lebanon.
'Some of the (Hesbollah) people are taking the country towards destruction under the slogan of fighting the American policies in the region,' the former Hezbollah chief said.
In a rare appearance with the media, Tofaili strongly warned against Sunni-Shiite strife in Lebanon.
'If someone wants to change the government, does it not mean leading the whole country to chaos and civil strife?' Tofiali asked.
Tofaili was Hezbollah's secretary general during the 1980s. Abbas al Musawi replaced Tofaili on May 21, 1991.
After Musawi was killed in an Israeli helicopter attack on February 16, 1992, Nasrallah was elected by the Hezbollah council as the new secretary general of the Lebanese Shiite movement.
In 1998, Tofaili led what he called a 'Hunger Revolution' against the government, and fought deadly battles with the Lebanese army during which several soldiers were killed. He is wanted by the Lebanese government for leading a revolution against the country, but was never arrested.
Since then he has been at odds with Hezbollah under Nasarllah's leadership and has on several occasions criticized Hezbollah for taking Lebanon into war with Israel in July, 2006.
Israel launched a wide-scale offensive against Hezbollah after the Shiite group snatched two of its soldiers from southern Lebanon.
Student riots between the opposition led by Hezbollah and Sunni government followers resulted in three people killed and some 120 others injured on Thursday in the capital Beirut.
The opposition, along with their Christian allies led by General Michel Aoun, have been staging an open-ended strike since December 1 in front the offices of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora in order to pressure the Western-backed government to resign.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur