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Official: Israel may 'have to' target civilians in Lebanon

May 14, 2015 9:57 A.M. (Updated: May 14, 2015 5:26 P.M.)
The border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Sept. 2, 2014. (AFP/ Said Khatib, File)
TEL AVIV (AFP) -- A senior Israeli military intelligence official said Wednesday Israel would likely "have to" target civilian areas in Lebanon in a future confrontation with Hezbollah, given its distribution of weapons sites.

In a briefing to foreign journalists at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, the official alsowarned of a heightened threat of conflict on Israel's borders in the next two years as a result of "escalation" in the region.

The official's warning came after a Hezbollah attack killed two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeper in January 2015, raising fears of another all-out war. Hezbollah had launched the attack shortly after an Israeli strike in the occupied Golan Heights killed six Hezbollah members including a commander and son of the group's deceased military leader.

In addition to tensions with neighboring Hezbollah, Israel continues to rail against a full nuclear deal emerging between world powers and arch-foe Iran.

"If we speak about a war that one country or one organization will all of a sudden start against Israel, the probability is even lower than it was two or three years ago," said the official, who requested that his name not be used.

"But the probability for war as a result of escalation... or miscalculation is much higher than it was in the past, because of the situation of organisations around Israel."

The official referred specifically to Hezbollahand Iran's arming of the group,with whom Israel fought a month-long war in 2006.
"The Iranian threat is a tangible threat to Israel. Iran has an aspiration to rule, to control the Middle East.

"One of the tools Iran uses in order to implement this policy is Hezbollah," he said.

The official added that a nuclear deal with Iran allowing the Islamic republic to prosper economically would likely lead to more funding of its proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah.

World powers are conducting sensitive negotiations with Iran aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for an easing of punishing economic sanctions.

The army official warned that in a future conflict with Hezbollah, Israel would "have to" target civilian areas.

He said Hezbollah currently possesses more than 100,000 rockets hidden in civilian areas in Lebanese villages that could hit northern Israel, including "hundreds" which could reach anywhere in the Jewish state.

"Each (village) is a military stronghold. Next time we have a war with Hezbollah, we will have to attack each one of these targets, and we hope the population will not be there," he said.

Israel is still reeling from a report by an Israeli army veterans NGO Breaking the Silence earlier this month, in which members of Israeli forces gave testimony that the military acted with complete disregard for civilian casualties during last summer's offense on the Gaza Strip.

The military has opened investigations, including into deadly incidents where the army shelled UN schools.

So far, it has charged three soldiers with looting during the war that killed over 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

The Palestinians are preparing to sue Israeli officials through the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes during the conflict.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
Comments
@ Ma'an Staff (Liars) / USA
There is a big difference between
-1- the title's "Targeting Civilians" lie, and
-2- the story's targeting "distribution of weapons sites in target civilian areas" truth, and Ma'an Should Stop Printing Such Lies !!
15/05/2015 18:49
Traffa / Australia
In the 2006 War, Israel targetted Lebanese civilians and public infrastructure because their Intelligence was so poor re. Hezbollah targets, they couldn't find any.

Basically, this IDF fool is saying "We will commit War Crimes".
16/05/2015 17:10
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