Following statements by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last week that a war between the United States and Iran would put the Jewish state “on the brink of extinction,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that if attacked, Israel “would impose a crushing military blow on [Hezbollah] and on Lebanon.”
On Friday, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV broadcast an interview with Nasrallah marking the 13th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, during which the Hezbollah leader said that “any [future] war will be bigger than the 2006 war for Israel and it will put it on the brink of extinction.”
“We have game-changing offensive weapons, along with human capabilities represented by the Radwan Force and al-Abbas Brigades [elite forces],” he said. “Our weapons have been developed in both quality and quantity. We have precision missiles and drones. The 70-kilometer Israeli coast starting from Netanya and ending at Ashdod is under the fire of the resistance.”
He also pulled out a map and pointed to Tel Aviv and Ashdod ports, Ben-Gurion airport, and various desalination and petrochemical plants and arms depots, declaring that they were all targets Hezbollah could hit.
Netanyahu said in response, “Suffice it to say that for years Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, which we destroyed within days.” He added that if Hezbollah “dared to do something foolish and attack Israel, we would impose a crushing military blow on it and on Lebanon.”
“But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans,” he said.
Netanyahu’s comments came just five days after he responded to a threat by Mojtaba Zolmour, chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, saying, “It is worthwhile for [Iran] to remember that [Israel’s F-35 Adir fighter jets] can reach everywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and Syria.”
Zolmour had boasted to Iraq’s Alnujaba TV that “Israel knows that Iran will erase its entity and uproot it from existence in case of war.”
Since December, Israel has destroyed a series of attack tunnels leading from Lebanon to Israel which are believed to have been dug to facilitate a surprise, large-scale attack by Hezbollah.