Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed on Sunday that Iran is building an airport in southern Lebanon, just 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the Israeli border. His presentation included multiple images of the airport.
Gallant, who made his remarks to the Global Summit on Counter Terrorism held at Reichman University, warned that the airport is to be used for combat drones to attack Israel.
“I am revealing here for the first time photos of an airport for terrorist purposes that Iran is building in southern Lebanon 20 kilometers from the Israeli border,” Gallant said.
“You can see in the photos the Iranian flag flying over the runways from which the Ayatollah’s regime plans to operate against the citizens of Israel. In other words: the land, Lebanese, the control, Iranian, the target, Israel,” he said.
The airport is under construction in Kelat Jabbur, just north of the Israeli town of Metulla.
“The Ayatollah regime plans to act through this against the citizens of Israel,” Gallant said. “The land is Lebanese, the control is Iranian, and the destination is Israel.
“Under the guise of changes in the Middle East, Iran is conducting a process of geographical and ideological takeover of the countries in the region, promoting worldwide terrorist attacks and trying to disintegrate the existing countries,” the defense minister noted.
“The Iranian goal is to create a war of attrition against Israel, on all its borders, and at the same time continue to develop and equip itself with nuclear weapons.
“These efforts touch each of the countries around us: in Lebanon, the repeated provocations by Hezbollah. On the northern border, they are seen in the arrogant and dangerous actions taken by Hezbollah with Iranian encouragement.
“Nasrallah has apparently forgotten what the true power relations are between Israel and Hezbollah,” Gallant said.
“He wants to portray himself as the ‘defender of Lebanon’ but in fact he is holding Lebanon and its citizens hostage to advance Iranian and Shia interests.
If [Nasrallah] makes a mistake, he will become the ‘Destroyer of Lebanon’,” Gallant warned.
“If we come to a conflict, we will not hesitate to use the lethal force of the IDF; Hezbollah and Lebanon will pay heavy and painful prices,” he emphasized.
“Also in Syria, the Iranian effort to establish a militia army continues.
“The State of Israel via its security systems will not allow the establishment of Hezbollah 2.0 in the Syrian Golan Heights, and we will not allow the use of Syrian soil as a springboard for the transfer of weapons which shift the balance of power to Hezbollah.”
On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said during an event marking half a century since the Yom Kippur War that Israel should not underestimate its enemies.
“We must be more prepared than ever for a multi-front and extensive military conflict that will include maneuvering in close contact and with intense friction with the enemy, will involve losses and casualties, and in which the home front will also be a front,” he warned.