Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis has accused Lebanese officials of allowing Iran to turn the country into “one big missile factory,” in a rare Arabic language opinion piece published Sunday by Lebanese news outlets.
In the article which was published in Voice of Beirut and Israeli radio’s public Arabic broadcaster among others, including Russia state outlet Sputnik Manelis said. “Through the actions and inaction of the Lebanese authorities, Lebanon is turning into one big missile factory while much of the international community looks the other way. It’s no longer about transfers of arms, money or advice. De facto, Iran has opened a new branch, the Lebanon.”
Manelis warned Hezbollah’s actions are turning Lebanon into a “powder keg”. “One of every three or four homes in southern Lebanon is a command post, position, weapons warehouse or hiding place for Hezbollah. We know these assets and will know how to attack them accurately if necessary,” hecautioned.
In light of its regional activities and its “terrorist tourism,” referring to a photo taken last year of a Hezbollah commander with a commander of one of the Shi’ite militias loyal to Iran, Qais al-Khazali, Manelis said the past year provided “further proof that Hezbollah serves as Iran’s operational arm”.
“As we have proven in recent years, and anyone who should know this already does, our security red lines are clearly demarcated. We have proven that is the case every week. The choice is yours, people of Lebanon,” Manelis wrote.
In Maariv Tal Lev-Ram writes that Israeli officials believe the situation on the northern border will be tenser in 2018, due to Hezbollah activity.
This assessment is based on the increasingly strident statements that Hezbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has made and from Hezbollah’s military build-up and the nearing conclusion of the civil war in Syria.