A US senator said Tuesday that Israeli officials told him last week that a war on Lebanese soil was imminent if Hezbollah continued to construct a guided missile factory aided by Iran.
“They’ve told us in no uncertain terms that if this threat continues — they keep making rockets that can hit the airport and do a lot of damage to the State of Israel — they are going to have to go in,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina, according to Bloomberg.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior IDF officials have repeatedly warned that Iran has been building guided rocket factories for Hezbollah, and Netanyahu raised the issue a month ago in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Lebanon was “becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel,” Netanyahu said after that meeting. “These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we will cannot accept this threat.”
“Southern Lebanon is where the next war is coming,” Graham said on Tuesday, adding that Israeli leaders had requested US diplomatic support for Jerusalem if the IDF strikes Hezbollah targets located in civilian areas.
Another major request by Israel was “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition,” he continued.
Graham was speaking at a press conference alongside Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, after both were part of a bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers to Israel last week.
Both senators urged US President Donald Trump’s administration to develop a clearer policy to counter Iran’s influence in the region, and also to deal with its ally Russia.
Tehran was “testing” Trump and the international community, charged Graham, blaming the lack of a clear US strategy for the Hezbollah missile factory.
On Tuesday, General Joseph Votel, head of the US’s Central Command, told a House committee that “while we continue to confront the scourge of terrorism, Iran’s malign activities across the region pose a long-term threat to stability in this part of the world,” the report added.
Votel accused Moscow of playing “both arsonist and firefighter, fueling tensions among all parties in Syria” but also being in a position to act as an “arbiter” to solve the crisis.