(AFP) – May 21, 2010
MLITA, Lebanon — The Hezbollah Shiite militia on Friday inaugurated a "tourist complex" displaying its own heavy weapons and those left by Israel, to mark the 10th anniversary of Israel's pullout from south Lebanon.
"Armies that emerge victorious from wars display their exploits in museums," Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in an inaugural speech broadcast live at the complex on a giant television screen. He was not present in person.
This site "is a modest initiative compared... to the sacrifices and historic victories that have been gained," Nasrallah said of the 2006 war in which Israel failed to crush Hezbollah, or the "party of God" in Arabic.
"One of our principal responsibilities is to preserve the history of resistance... and this museum is built on the ground of resistance," Nasrallah told hundreds of people gathered in a courtyard at the complex.
The site, located in the sprawling southern locality of Mlita, was a Hezbollah military base during Israel's 1978-1990 occupation of south Lebanon and the 2006 war.
The museum will open to the public from May 25, the anniversary of the Israeli pullout, which is this year being marked as a national holiday.
Hezbollah has also been organising "jihadist tours," in which 500 young men and women were taken on a field trip to witness what the Iran-backed group called the "achievements of the resistance" against Israel.
Dozens of anti-tank and Katyusha rockets, Iran-built "Raad 1" missiles, mortars and rocket launchers are on display in the complex that encompasses a mountain cave, wooded grounds and a newly built gallery.
Israeli Merkava tanks are also on display.
Several Hezbollah fighters were killed in Israeli raids while digging the caves to hide weapons, according to guide Mohammad Sayyed.
The museum is the first complex of its kind in the world, Hezbollah said in a statement.
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