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Lebanon's Hezbollah chief calls French cartoons "an aggression"

A man watches Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaking on television, inside a shop in Houla, southern Lebanon September 29, 2020. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/Files

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah on Friday described French cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad as an aggression and likened Paris sticking by them to “declaring a sort of war”.

In a televised speech, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said French authorities had worsened a standoff over the caricatures, which stirred anger among Muslims, by being stubborn.

The head of the heavily armed Shi’ite movement condemned this week’s fatal stabbings at a church in Nice, but said Western leaders also bore responsibility for such crimes because of their roles in Middle East conflicts.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Laila Bassam; editing by Diane Craft