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Ahed Tamimi thanks, offers support to Hezbollah leader

Ahed Tamimi kisses the tombstone of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on July 29, 2018
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)

Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teen jailed by an Israeli military court last year for slapping a soldier, has thanked and pledged support to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Tamimi was sentenced to eight months in a military prison after footage emerged of her slapping and kicking an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier standing in her family's front yard in the West Bank. The case grabbed headlines around the world and made the 17-year-old a poster girl for the Palestinian cause.

In a video this week, Tamimi thanked Nasrallah for his support during her ordeal. Iran-backed Hezbollah is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and partially by the EU. It fought a war with Israel in 2006.

"To the honorable sheikh, Hassan Nasrallah, I say: Thank you very much. I wish you a happy holiday," Tamimi said in the clip, according to a translation made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

"His words boosted our morale -- not just my morale, but the morale of many people, because I represent the people. I'm not just representing myself, but the people and the cause."

"I'd like to salute him, to thank him for his support, and to tell him that he always makes us grow stronger. We all support him and are proud of him."

Handout (MANAR TV/AFP)

Nasrallah lives in hiding in Lebanon out of fear of Israeli assassination attempts.

Hezbollah is a major Shiite political force in Lebanon and sits in the current Lebanese government. It has helped Syrian President Bashar Al Assad turn the tide against opposition groups and rebels in that country's seven year civil war.

Tamimi was released in July, slightly ahead of the end of her sentence.

She told the Guardian newspaper the day after her release that she wanted to go into law in order to shift her family's struggle against Israel to international courts.

“God willing, I will manage to study law,” she said. “I will present the violations against the Palestinians in criminal courts. And to try Israel for it and to be a big lawyer, and to return rights to my country.”

The now 17-year-old also said that she understood she had become a "symbol" of the Palestinian cause.

"Of course my life has been changed a lot. I changed a lot in prison," said Tamimi, who was 16 when she was arrested.

"I became more focused, more aware also. Prison ages a person. In one day you age 100 years," she said in the backyard of her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

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