Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hezbollah had shut down plants to develop precision-guided missiles but was imperilling Lebanon with a cross-border tunnel network he deemed “an act of war,” Reuters has reported.
“The underground sites for precision conversion of missiles, which (Israeli) military intelligence gave me, to expose, those sites were closed,” Netanyahu told a conference on December 19th.
Israeli forces have repeatedly struck suspected Hezbollah arms transfers via Syria during its civil war, but have avoided such action in Lebanon. Intersecting intelligence reports have suggested that the Hezbollah militia, with help from Iran, were seeking a form of homegrown production of precision-guided missiles in Lebanon.
Addressing the UN on September 7th, Netanyahu identified three such plants around Beirut airport - a disclosure that Lebanon’s foreign minister, a political ally of Hezbollah, dismissed at the time as fabricated.
“They are trying to open other sites,” he said, without elaborating. Hezbollah hoped to have thousands of precision-guided missiles by now but instead had “at most, a few dozen”, according to Netanyahu.
For its part, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said it is fully committed to the UN resolution that ended the 2006 war. The ministry called on the Lebanese army “to take all necessary measures to ensure (the resolution) is well implemented in coordination with UNIFIL forces, especially in light of the tensions at the border in recent days.”