Hezbollah shifts attention from Syria fight to battle virus

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has mobilized the organizational might it once deployed to fight Israel or in Syria’s civil war to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. It aims to send a clear message to its Shiite supporters that it is a force to rely on in times of crisis _ particularly after it suffered a series of blows to its prestige. Opponents angrily accuse Hezbollah of helping bring the outbreak to Lebanon, saying it delayed a halt of flights from Iran for weeks after a woman who had just arrived from Iran emerged as Lebanon’s first confirmed coronavirus case. Hezbollah says it has deployed nearly 25,000 medical personnel and volunteers in an anti-virus campaign in its popular strongholds.