IDF Chief of Staff: Reining in Hezbollah is ‘top priority’

IDF Chief of Staff targets Iranian influence near Israel’s borders, which is “no less important than defeating the Islamic State.”

Reining in the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and neutralizing its ability to strike Israel with precision-guided rockets remains a top priority for the IDF, Lieutenant General and Chief of Staff of the IDF, Gadi Eizenkot told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday.

“We are engaged in a whole campaign against the accuracy project and it is our top priority,” Eizenkot said. “Therefore it is necessary to maintain perspective and not to panic.”

The “accuracy project” refers to the intentions of the Iranian sphere of influence, which includes Syria and Hezbollah, to get hold of accurately guided missiles.

“We are working all the time against the project with a wide variety of tools that it is best to keep quiet about, and with the aim of not causing a deterioration,” he continued.

As a result of a number of alleged Israeli airstrikes on shipments of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, Iran reportedly jump-started an initiative to construct new missile factories in Lebanon. This push makes “decreasing Iranian influence in the areas near Israel’s borders, no less important than defeating the Islamic State,” according to Eizenkot.

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The IDF Chief of Staff also noted the importance of remaining vigilant in light of continued violations by Hezbollah of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, despite the presence of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon. Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, forbids armed members of Hezbollah from entering a zone in southern Lebanon near Israel’s border.

Eizenkot stressed however, that the IDF’s position vis-à-vis Hezbollah has significantly improved.

“Eleven years after the Second Lebanon War, we have a better security situation, and we’ve been taking advantage of this time to dramatically improve our capabilities,” Eisenkot said.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News