JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned Monday that Iran has built an air base in Lebanon, just 12 miles from the Israel-Lebanon border. Using satellite photos at a counter-terrorism conference, Gallant identified the terror base at Kilat Jabar where Iranian flags fly on the runway saying, “The land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian, the target is Israel.”
Speaking in Herzliya at the 22nd annual International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)’ World Summit on Counter-Terrorism, Gallant showed photos of the air base near the Lebanese city of Jezzin and remarked, “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.”
Gallant insisted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must remain ready, and he fired more verbal broadsides against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Tehran, saying, “If it comes to a conflict, we will not hesitate to activate the lethal force of the IDF. Hezbollah and Lebanon will pay heavy and painful prices.”
Neither the Iranian government nor the Iranian-backed Hezbollah responded to Associated Press questions about Gallant’s remarks.
The defense minister also continued on a theme both he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have stressed in recent weeks: that Iran is behind the fomenting of terror Israel has experienced recently in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and in Jerusalem.
Three weeks ago, Netanyahu stated, “We are in the midst of a terror onslaught that is being encouraged, directed and financed by Iran and its proxies.”
David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, also addressed the Herzliya Conference this weekend, revealing that the agency had stopped 23 of 27 Iranian-sponsored terror plots. “The plots being pursued by these (terrorist) teams were orchestrated, masterminded and directed by Iran,” he said, specifying that they were being planned in every part of the globe.
Another government official, National Security AdvisorTzachi Hanegbi, leveled a further caution, telling the conference earlier in the week, “If Iran moves to enrich uranium above 60% and we identify it – and there is no possibility that we won’t, that the world would not recognize it – the result is that Israel would act out of necessity.” He added, “There would be no choice.”
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