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hezbollah funerals 24AL-QAEDA leader Ayman al-Zawahiri says Lebanese Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah has been exposed as a tool of Iranian expansionism, in an audio message posted online.

Zawahiri said that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s public acknowledgement in late April that his fighters had intervened in neighboring Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a key Tehran ally, “tore off the mask he always hid behind”.

“The jihadist uprising in Muslim Syria has exposed the ugly face of Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the rejectionist (Shi’ite) Safavid (Iranian) plan for Syria,” the al-Qaeda leader said.

Sunni extremists describe Shi’ites as rejectionists. The Safavids were an Iranian imperial dynasty of the 16th and 17th centuries.

“It has been revealed to the Islamic Umma (faithful) that he is just an instrument in the rejectionist Safavid plan that aims to spread the hegemony of the Wali al-Faqih,” he said, referring to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have reportedly been killed in Syria while fighting alongside the forces loyal to the embattled Syrian president Bashar al Assad . Over 100, 000 have so far been killed in the Syrian civil war according to the UN.

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