Another escalation? Hezbollah is reportedly producing weapons in factories built by Iran in Lebanon.
Iran has established secret rocket factories in Lebanon that are under the full control of the Hezbollah terror group, a top Iranian general told a Kuwaiti newspaper, according to Israeli media reports.
In the report published Monday, the al-Jarida newspaper quoted a deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who said Iran has established underground factories for manufacturing both rockets and firearms in Lebanon, which have begun production in the past three months.
The report did not name the Iranian commander.
The report came just days after Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, a former brigadier general in the IRGC, said Hezbollah is now capable of producing rockets that can hit any part of Israel. Dehghan offered no details of the new capabilities.
According to the report, the factory staff includes advisers from the IRGC, as well as Lebanese experts trained at the Imam Hossein University in Tehran, a key training institution for IRGC personnel.
Hundreds have reportedly been trained by the university in rocket manufacturing techniques.
There are reportedly several sites which produce different parts. All locations are buried deep underground to protect them from Israeli air strikes.
Rockets produced by the facilities have already been used by Hezbollah in battles in Syria, the report said.
The Iranian general quoted in the report said the decision to produce rockets in Lebanon came after Israel’s Air Force bombed weapons factories in Sudan and supply routes for Iranian rockets via Syria.
Similarly, Israel has reportedly carried out multiple strikes against convoys carrying Iranian weapons to Hezbollah via Syria.
Israel has repeatedly vowed to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring game-changing weaponry and has warned that any such attempts will be met with a strong response.
In a recent meeting with European Union ambassadors in December, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman made it clear that Israel has acted and will continue to act in order to stop Hezbollah from acquiring both advanced and chemical weapons from the Syrian government.
Hezbollah currently has a stockpile of over 130,000 rockets, more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States.
“You don’t collect 130,000 missiles if you don’t intend to use them,” said Matthew Levitt, an expert on counter-terrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.