Friday 20 April 2018

Israel wary Hezbollah will obtain advanced weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Olivia Rand in Moscow

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern to Russia's president that sophisticated weapons from Syria and Iraq could end up in the hands of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian government.

Mr Netanyahu was in Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin, a staunch backer of the Syrian government. Like Russia, Hezbollah has been supporting Syria militarily.

Mr Netanyahu said in televised remarks during his meeting with Mr Putin that Israel fears the opening of yet another "front of terror" in the Golan Heights if Hezbollah obtains sophisticated weapons from Syria.

Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981. An Israeli withdrawal was long seen as a key to any Israel-Syria peace agreement.

Meanwhile, in Washington the Pentagon announced that the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State staged 24 strikes on Wednesday in Iraq and Syria in its latest daily operation against the militant group, it said in a statement released yesterday.

In Iraq, 21 strikes near nine cities were concentrated near Mosul and Al Baghdadi, where they hit five Islamic State tactical units, seven assembly areas, three staging facilities and four vehicles, among other targets, the Combined Joint Task Force said.

The three strikes in Syria hit an oil well head used by the militants near Abu Kamal, according to the task force.

Irish Independent

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