On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed what he said were plans the Islamic Republic of Iran had in attempting to create an airport in southern Lebanon to enable attacks against Israel, presenting aerial images of the site.
Speaking at an international security conference hosted by Reichman University, Gallant said the site, 20 km away from the Israeli border town of Metulla, could accommodate mid-sized aircraft and be used for “terror purposes.”
Gallant says the airport is being built in the Qalaat Jabbour mountain region.
“In the pictures, you can see the Iranian flag flying over the runways, from which the Ayatollah regime plans to operate against the citizens of Israel,” he added.
“This development is serious and could lead to an escalation, between Israel and Hezbollah like the wars of 2006 and 1996. With one major difference that is the presence of Iranian military and installations. Such a war will be more devastating than anything we’ve seen in the past,” warned Dr Walid Phares, a foreign policy expert and the author of Iran An Imperialist Republic and US Policy.
The Israeli Defense Secretary said that despite the land belonging to Lebanon, the “control is Iranian, and the target is Israel.”
Gallant stated that should conflict come, Israel would “not hesitate to activate the lethal force of the IDF. Hezbollah and Lebanon will pay heavy and painful prices,” he said.
A non-Israeli source familiar with the site said it could accommodate large drones for internal and external operational activities.
Gallant also explained Iran’s role behind recent terror operations in the West Bank and increasingly controlling Gazan terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“Iran is the provider of money, knowledge, and guidance to Gazan terrorism,” he said.
Gallant said Tehran continues to try to establish militia groups on Israel’s northern border, in addition to supporting the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. He reiterated the Israeli government’s stance against such terror groups, stating that Jerusalem would not “allow the establishment of a second Hezbollah in the Syrian Golan Heights, and the use of Syrian soil as a springboard for the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.”
The issue with Israeli retaliation, according to Dr. Phares is that “Iran and Hezbollah would retaliate with ballistic missiles deep into Israel, dragging the latter gradually into a massive air campaign from Lebanon to Syria and Iraq. Such clashes though Israel would have an indisputable air superiority usually end up in a ceasefire as long as the Iran regime would survive them.”
The latest news from Jerusalem comes as the United States continues to support the salaries of Lebanese soldiers and police officers, most of whom can barely make ends meet due to the disastrous economic situation in the country.
According to reports, despite national security experts warning about the failed support assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Washington continues to send direct cash assistance, even as the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group, Hezbollah (The Party of God) continues to strengthen its presence in southern Lebanon and the Lebanese parliament.
“The only alternative option would be to have the US pressure the Lebanese Army to deny Hezbollah the control of all the non Shia areas, meaning Sunni, Druse and Christians and set up a safe zone as is the case in East Syria and Northern Iraq. In that case, Israel would win the air war, and the local population would secure their own free area, which would cut off Hezbollah from Iran,” Dr. Phares said.
Since the 1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has supplied Hezbollah with enormous funds, military training, and organizational support, creating a “state within a state.”
According to Dr. Phares, Iran has been supplying its Hezbollah militia for 17 years now and “has funded the latter in building a huge network of fortifications that never existed before with more advanced weapons and munitions, including anti aircraft and surface to surface missiles,” which he adds has been even more problematic as the terror group has been pushing deeper into non-Shia areas along the Lebanon mountain range, potentially creating what he calls “a wider scope of military confrontations.”
Today, the Ayatollahs continue to support Hezbollah, hoping that one day, the terrorist proxy can wipe out the Jewish state.