The leader of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah hinted on Sunday that Israel should relocate its Dimona nuclear reactor because it too is a target for his organization, and one whose destruction could have more dire consequences than an attack on the huge ammonia tank in Haifa that he previously threatened to destroy.
Speaking from his hidden bunker to a Hezbollah event in the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon to mark 11 years since the end of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah General-Secretary Hassan Nasrallah warned that, should Israel try to invade the country again, it would be met by a defending force that is 100 times more powerful than the force Israeli troops encountered in the previous conflict.
Nasrallah insisted that Israel was deterred from attacking Lebanon by the perception that it would pay too high a price for such an attack.
Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran’s Shiite regime, threatened earlier this year to target a massive 12,000-ton capacity ammonia tank in Haifa Bay with rockets, in any future conflict with Israel.
Fears over the security risk the tank presents to the surrounding population — whether due to a catastrophic accident or a missile strike — were behind a prolonged campaign by local authorities to close the tank and have its contents moved to a safer and less populated location in the south.
Israel’s plans to move the ammonia tank demonstrate its respect for Hezbollah’s power, Nasrallah claimed on Sunday. Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona should also be moved, he said, because its destruction would be even more dangerous.
Nasrallah also scoffed at Israeli complaints to the United Nations over Hezbollah’s purported nature reserves along the border that security officials say are just a cover for observation posts. Lebanese citizens, he said, should plant more trees, since the Israelis fear them so much.
In June, the IDF published photographs and a film showing what it said were Hezbollah observation posts near the Israeli-Lebanese border, set up purportedly on behalf of an organization called “Green Without Borders.”
Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, in a letter to the UN Security Council, said Hezbollah’s purported use of such facilities under cover of the NGO is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
But the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) later said that while “Green Without Borders” members have planted trees in the area, it “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of resolution 1701.”
Agencies contributed to this report.