Israeli Minister of Security and alternative prime minister, Benny Gantz, threatened to make Lebanon pay a “heavy price” and inflict it with “enormous destruction” if a war broke out against Israel from the northern front.
He made his remarks as the Israeli kicked off on Tuesday a military exercise dubbed the “Lightning Storm”, on the Lebanese borders.
Gantz had sent a recorded speech that was broadcast at the annual ceremony commemorating the 24th anniversary of a helicopter disaster that took place in 1997 when two helicopters carrying Israeli troops to the occupied zone in southern Lebanon collided in the air, killing all 73 soldiers.
“If a [fighting] front breaks out in the north, the country of Lebanon will be the one to pay the heaviest of prices for the weapons that have been scattered in civilian population centers,” Gantz said.
“We have clarified — again and again — that we will not allow Hezbollah and the Iranians to turn Lebanon into a terror state… We will not hesitate to strike Iran’s efforts to rearm and entrench itself beyond our borders.”
“[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah knows well that his decision to build bunkers full of munitions and missiles and to position Hezbollah capabilities is a danger to himself and to the citizens of the state of Lebanon,” the Israeli defense minister said, calling on the Lebanese government to “take responsibility.”
The two-day training at the northern border adjacent to Lebanese territory aims to enhance the readiness of Israeli forces of the Northern Command along the borders, according to a statement by the army.
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat