Pompeo delivered direct warning from Israel and US following intelligence brief with Netanyahu last month.
Reports of a new, secret Iranian precision missile factory in Lebanon were released on Monday claiming the United States sent an official warning to Lebanon and Hezbollah, as well as Iran, against further aggression and threats to Israel’s security.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the message himself while visiting the region two weeks ago. Pompeo is said to have directly warned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during their talks in Beirut. He reportedly told Lebanese leadership that further secret and covert operations carried out by Iran with Hezbollah could “raise the risk of a real escalation with Israel”.
Prime Minister Netanyahu shared Israeli intelligence on the missile factory with Pompeo during his visit to Jerusalem ahead of his visit to Beirut.
During a tour with UN officials following the completion of Operation Northern Shield that exposed and neutralized Hezbollah’s tunnel network on the border with Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that Israel would do all it needed to defend the Jewish people. Referring at the time to the “great shift in the Middle East” he warned, “That shift is the rise of the aggressive theocracy of Iran that seeks to conquer the Middle East, eliminate Israel and dominate many other parts of the world.” Specifically on Lebanon and Syria Netanyahu stated, “Iran has proxies. One of them is Hezbollah… Iran controls the government of Lebanon. “It’s important to send this very powerful message just as we stop the terror tunnels coming into Israel, we will stop all the aggression- from Lebanon or from Syria or from Iran itself…”
Also on Monday, a senior Trump Administration official claimed the White House may place more sanctions on Iran next month to coincide with the anniversary of President Trump leaving the nuclear deal. According to Reuters, the official reported, “We just want a continued chilling effect. We want businesses to continue to think doing business with Iran is a terrible idea at this point.”
Last month, Israel announced it had found a new Iranian precision-missile factory in Safita, Syria. In August 2018, satellite images were released of a new Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory under construction in northwestern Syria. During his address to the UN General Assembly in October of last year, Netanyahu spoke at length on Iran’s nuclear and missile activities and efforts through its proxies. Specifically on Hezbollah he stated, “in Lebanon Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of ten meters… Hezbollah is deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields. They have placed three of these missile conversion sites alongside Beirut’s international airport.” He exposed the sites, one near Beirut’s international airport, a site underneath a soccer stadium and a third adjacent to the airport.
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