By David Haoud
Senior Israeli officials warned on Monday evening that, over the last few weeks, Iran has considerably stepped up its operations to arm Hezbollah in order to prepare its terrorist proxy for a large-scale conflict with Israel.
According to the officials, cited by Israel’s Channel 2, new intelligence has revealed that Tehran has accelerated its proxy war with Israel on all fronts. Iranian delegations have been arriving in the Gaza Strip, and in recent months, the commander of Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer militia spoke of arming the residents of the West Bank to rise up against Israel. Iran has reportedly already begun arming members of Hamas in the West Bank.
Iran has also been attempting to establish a new front for Hezbollah with Israel on the Golan Heights, linking it to the existing one in southern Lebanon, according to the report.
Israeli officials have said that the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, now under discussion in talks between world powers and the Islamic Republic, will release billions of dollars that Tehran will use to finance the arming of its terrorist proxies.
The officials expressed their concerns on the heels of the announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to lift the ban on selling advanced anti-aircraft S-300 systems to Iran. The S-300 is said to be the best defense Iran could possess against Israel’s current arsenal of fighter jets, making the task of carrying out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult, if the Israelis make the decision that a military strike is necessary.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, tried to calm concerns over the lift of the ban, saying that the S-300 system was designed exclusively for defensive purposes, “and is not intended in any way for offensive purposes, and therefore does not endanger any of the countries in the region, including Israel.”