Beirut (AFP) - Lebanon's Hezbollah is backing the Palestinian "resistance" in Gaza to defeat Israel, the Shiite movement's leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday.
Nasrallah told Hamas' exiled chief Khaled Meshaal by telephone: "Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance stand firmly on the side of the Intifada and the Palestinian people's resistance, and support Hamas' strategy and the just conditions it has set to end the conflict."
Hamas is demanding Israel end its siege of Gaza and has called for the release of scores of prisoners from Israeli jails before it considers peace talks proposed by Egypt.
Nasrallah, meanwhile, expressed his "complete confidence in the resistance's capacity to defend itself and to achieve a new victory in July", a reference to Israel's failure to crush Hezbollah in its July 2006 offensive against Lebanon.
In a separate phone call to Ramadan Abdallah Challah, secretary general of the Gaza's second-biggest armed group, the Islamic Jihad, Nasrallah said: "The Lebanese resistance is willing to cooperate completely, in order to realise the goals of the Palestinian resistance, and to ensure the failure of the (Israeli) aggression."
Israel's assault on Gaza, the bloodiest in five years, has lasted 14 days, killing more than 500 Palestinians, while 18 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the violence.