Israel responded to increased Hezbollah threats by warning Iran via Europe that it will not accept the establishment of arms factories in southern Lebanon.
Israel has reportedly conveyed messages to Iran through European governments, warning the Islamic Republic against a continued upgrade of Hezbollah’s military capabilities in southern Lebanon against the Jewish state. European states, which have diplomatic ties with Iran, have reportedly acted as intermediaries and passed on Israel’s messages to the Iranian regime.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the issue at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “We also view with utmost gravity Iran’s attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria as well as its attempts to arm Hezbollah – via Syria and Lebanon – with advanced weaponry,” he stated.
European diplomatic sources cited in Hebrew-language reports say Iran has been informed that Israel “will not tolerate” the escalating upgrade of the Hezbollah terror organization’s fighting capabilities. The warning from Jerusalem emphasizes Tehran’s ambitions to establish comprehensive subterranean arms manufacturing plants in south Lebanon. If this becomes reality, Teheran’s proxy Hezbollah would be able to construct advanced weapons – including rockets – and have no need to smuggle them from its Iranian patron via Syria.
The Israeli Air Force has reportedly targeted the arms-smuggling shipments on numerous occasions, leading Iran and Hezbollah to explore alternatives, such as local arms plants in south Lebanon. Already in March, the Kuwaiti Al Jarida newspaper reported that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard had established weapons construction facilities for Hezbollah. Since then, the Lebanese terrorist organization has reportedly taken over the management.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s rhetoric against Israel has increased dramatically in the past few weeks. On Friday, Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iranian terror group, threatened that “hundreds of thousands” of Arabs and Muslims would join the fight against Israel if it attacked Syria or Lebanon.
“The Israeli enemy should know that if it launches an attack on Syria or Lebanon, it’s unknown whether the fighting will stay just between Lebanon and Israel, or Syria and Israel,” the Hezbollah chief said in a statement quoted by the AFP agency.
Nasrallah’s inflammatory remarks were made during a speech on the so-called Quds Day, an annual Iranian-sponsored event that incites against Israel. Marches and speeches are held throughout the Middle East, but also in European capitals like London, Paris and Berlin, where participants incite against the Jewish state and the wider Western world.
Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Israel’s capital Jerusalem. The Quds Day event was established by the late Iranian Islamist leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had cut Iran’s diplomatic relations with Israel and demanded her destruction. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are currently focused on fighting in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News