Israel warns of another war. Says Hezbollah has become Iran’s Lebanon branch

Lebanon Israel flagsIDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis warned in a rare op-ed on a Lebanese opposition website that a war with Israel could break out if Iran develops precision missiles in the country, Jerusalem Post reported .

“Lebanon has become – both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community – one large missile factory,”  Manelis wrote on the  website.

“It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here,” he said.

“In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state,” he continued.

“The future of Lebanese citizens is in the hands of a dictator who sits in Tehran,” Manelis  reportedly wrote, adding that “I think it is right to warn the residents of Lebanon of the Iranian game in their security and in their future.”
According to IDF assessments, Hezbollah has  least 100,000 short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach central Israel. In addition to a massive arsenal of rockets and missiles, Hezbollah is able to mobilize close to 30,000 fighters and has flouted its tunnel system, complete with ventilation, electricity, and rocket launchers.
Hezbollah has also increased its military capabilities due to its fighting in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad, and has spread its troops across the entire Middle East.

“The past year has been further proof that Hezbollah serves as an operational arm of Iran. In every place where there was instability, we discovered the fingerprint of Iran and everywhere we discovered Hezbollah’s involvement,” Manelis  reportedly wrote.

Some 200 villages in south Lebanon have also been turned into “military strongholds” from which Hezbollah militants are able to watch Israeli soldiers at any moment.

“The ordinary citizen will be mistaken to think that this process turns Lebanon into a fortress, it is nothing more than a barrel of gunpowder on which he, his family and his property are sitting,” Manelis said in his op-ed on Sunday.

“One in every three or four houses in southern Lebanon is a headquarters, a post, a weapons depot or a Hezbollah hideout. We know these assets and know how to attack them accurately if required.”

“The future of Lebanese citizens is in the hands of a dictator who sits in Tehran,” Manelis  reportedly wrote, adding that “I think it is right to warn the residents of Lebanon of the Iranian game in their security and in their future.”

The commander of Lebanon’s armed forces instructed his troops during the  last independence day ,  to be fully ready to deal with a potential attack from Israel.

The Lebanese army achieved several  victories against jihadi groups on the country’s restive eastern border with Syria last year

On the eve of the country’s 74th anniversary of independence from France, the Lebanese military commander, Joseph Aoun, commended soldiers for successfully expelling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Nusra Front, from the outskirts of eastern towns such as Arsal, Ras Baalbek and Hermel this summer. He warned, however, that current “exceptional political circumstances” required personnel to “maintain the utmost awareness and vigilance and to take measures to maintain stability,” especially looking south, where another foe stands at the ready.

“I call on you to be fully prepared at the southern border to face the threats from the Israeli enemy, its violations and its hostile intent towards Lebanon, its people and its army, as well as to always ensure the implementation of Resolution 1701 in coordination and cooperation with United Nations forces in Lebanon, preserving a secure stability,” General Aoun said , according to the Lebanese army’s official Twitter account.

Israel  tries to intimidate  the Lebanese  on a daily basis with its  military overflights.