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Netanyahu: Israel hit weapons convoys in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touring the Golan Heights on Israel's border with Syria, in order to visit the site of an IDF reserves training dril
GPO / Kobi Gideon
It was reported at the beginning of the year that Russia had been transferring advanced weaponry to Hezbollah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday acknowledged that Israel had struck weapons convoys in Syria making their way to Hezbollah, as he toured the Golan Heights to visit the site of an Israel Defense Forces reservists military drill.

Netanyahu made his comments during a meeting with members of the reserve Paratroopers Brigade. Enumerating the threats faced by Israel on its northern and southern borders, including the Islamic State group, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Netanyahu praised the level of stability in Israel in comparison with its neighbors.

"We are proud that throughout the storm in the Middle East, we have managed to maintain relative quiet and security in Israel," Netanyahu said.

"We operate when needed, both here and over the border, with dozens of strikes to prevent Hezbollah [acquiring] game-changing weapons," the prime minister continued.

JALAA MAREY (AFP)

Although Netanyahu has previously alluded to such Israeli strikes — in December, he said that Israel operates in Syria "from time to time," partly to prevent weapons transfers to Lebanon — this is the first time he has explicitly mentioned that Israel is working to stop weapons falling into Hezbollah's hands.

It was reported at the beginning of the year that Russia had been transferring advanced weaponry to Hezbollah under the cover of the chaos of the Syrian civil war.

Two of the Shi'ite militant group's field commanders told The Daily Beast that the weapons include precision ground-to-ground missiles, long-range tactical missiles, laser guided rockets, and anti-tank weapons.

Netanyahu also addressed of Israel increasing its military involvement in the region.

"We are operating on other fronts near and far, in a considered manner," he said. "If we are required to enter the battlefield — and that possibility is the reason you are here — it's because we could not prevent the danger to Israel in any other way and in order to give you as many tools as possible in order to succeed," Netanyahu told the IDF reservists.

"This is our country, we need to protect it and no one will guard it save for us," the prime minster continued.

"When you look at the earthquake happening around you, you see people and countries being erased and if anyone expects that someone will come to our aid — it won't happen.

"If we've learned anything, it's that we have to be able to protect ourselves, using our own forces," Netanyahu added.

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