Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused Iran of establishing a military presence in Syria and arming the Lebanon-based Shiite militia of Hezbollah.

Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting that Israel views with “great severity” the attempts by Iran “to establish military bases in Syria and to equip Hezbollah with advanced weapons through Syria and Lebanon.”

Israel charges that Iran has been helping the armed group, which controls southern Lebanon, with establishing arms production facilities in Lebanon.

Hebrew-language reports on Sunday quoted an anonymous senior Israeli official as saying that in the past few weeks, Israel has sent messages to Tehran through several European allies.

Israel warned Iran that the Jewish state “will not tolerate” the establishment of Iranian weapons factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to the Ha’aretz daily.

“The Lebanese government cannot address this issue, so the address for dealing with it is found with other forces that have influence over the issue,” the official told the daily.

In March, Kuwait’s Al Jarida newspaper reported that Iran built weapons factories for Hezbollah. According to the newspaper, the group has been operating the factories independently since January 2017.

Al Jarida cited an Iranian defense official as saying that the factories can produce several types of missile, including short-range missile and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The remark came after Israel’s air force attacked posts of the Syrian army on Saturday. Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported that several people were killed in the strikes, including at least two civilians.

A spokesperson with the Israeli military said that the attack came in response to 10 projectiles from Syria that hit the Israeli-held Golan Heights. The projectiles were spillover from the fighting near Syria’s disputed border with Israel, the army said. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to SANA, the battles in this region are between President Bashar Assad’s army and the Nusra Front, a Salafist rebel group in Syria.

“Due to the unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty,” Israel has protested to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which maintains the 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria, a military spokesperson said.

Errant fire from the Syria, which is fighting a six-year-long war, has occasionally been spilling over to Israel, usually causing no casualties or damage.

Israel often retaliated the mortars with airstrikes.

Israel had repeatedly declared it would not intervene in the internal fighting in Syria.

However, it is widely believed that Israel often carried out airstrikes on weapons convoys in Syria, and has been providing medical treatment to hundreds of wounded Syrians who reached the border. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh