On December 6, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played down Hezbollah missile capabilities and claimed that the Lebanese group has only several dozens of precision-guided missiles.
“According to Hezbollah’s plans, they were already supposed to be equipped with thousands of missiles, but right now they only have a few dozens. The reason that they only have a few dozen is, among others, sitting here in this room,” Netanyahu said at an award ceremony for exceptional Mossad operatives, according to the Times of Israel.
Netanyahu went on to claim that the efforts of the Israeli military and intelligence prevented Hezbollah from accruing a higher number of precision-guided missiles.
“It is the combination of the Mossad, the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces], and our entire security system. We are depriving them of that weapon as well, not absolutely, but to a very impressive extent,” said the Israeli PM.
These remarks contradict with most of the previous statements on the issue released by top Israeli officials. The Israeli PM himself had participated in a propaganda campaign to show Hezbollah’s missile capabilities as the threat to the regional security for a long time. A part of this campaign was designed to justify Israeli actions in Syria.
Now Israel is apparently working to justify a military operation against Hezbollah positions inside Lebanon by promoting a new threat – “cross border tunnels.” In a clear sign of this new policy, Netanyahu said a day earlier that the Israeli military may have to operate in Lebanon in order to destroy the alleged tunnels of Hezbollah.
Facing these new threats, Hezbollah placed its fighters on a constant state of alert and surveillance. An official of the Lebanese group vowed that there will be a response to any attack from Israel, a policy that Hezbollah has been implementing since the 2006 war.