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    FILE - In this July 29, 2017 file photo,Hezbollah fighters stand near a four-wheel motorcycle positioned at the site where clashes erupted between Hezbollah and al-Qaida-linked fighters in Wadi al-Kheil or al-Kheil Valley in the Lebanon-Syria border

    Israel Accuses Hezbollah of Setting Up Lebanon Military Outpost Posing as NGO

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    Already tense relations between Tel Aviv and the Lebanese group escalated last month after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to do "what it takes" to protect Israel against alleged Iranian influence in Lebanon, including the neutralization of Iranian-supplied missile technology said to be in Hezbollah's hands.

    The Israeli Army has accused Hezbollah of secretly setting up a new military observation post on Lebanon's border with Israel under the cover of an environmental NGO called 'Green Without Borders', AFP has reported, citing a senior Israeli military officer.

    According to the officer, the outpost, located near the Shiite village of Aadaysit just across the border from Misgav Am, an Israeli kibbutz, violates UN Resolution 1701, which prohibits Hezbollah military activity in the area.

    "This NGO isn't concerned with planting trees, it's a front," the officer charged, speaking to reporters during a briefing on Monday. The site contains "military equipment, infrastructure, binoculars, [and] high-end cameras," the officer added.

    Israel has sent its concerns along to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and asked them to visit the suspected Hezbollah outpost, but have not received a response, the officer said.

    Tel Aviv has repeatedly accused Hezbollah of being an Iranian "terrorist proxy." Earlier this month, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that Israel would "continue blocking Iran's attempts to use Syria and Lebanon as its forward bases to launch attacks on Israel." 

    The Israeli air force has repeatedly attacked Hezbollah forces operating in Syria on the side of the Syrian government in recent years.

    Last month, speaking at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu presented satellite photos of what he said were Hezbollah precision-guided missile installations at the international airport in Beirut, accusing the group of using the Lebanese capital's residents as human shields, and stressing that Tel Aviv would "not let [Hezbollah] get away with" their behavior. Lebanese acting Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil shot back, accusing Israel of "coming up with excuses to justify aggression." Last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the organization would not "help the enemy in its psychological war" by confirming or denying Israeli claims of the construction of a Lebanese missile factory.

    Traditionally cold relations between Israel and Lebanon reached a new low in March, with senior military officials from both countries talking about the possibility of open armed conflict. Tel Aviv's main bone of contention has been suspected Iranian support for Hezbollah, including the supply of rocketry components, which could be used to attack Israel. Beirut has complained about Israeli plans to build a border wall, Israel's ongoing occupation of the Shebaa Farms, and disagreements over a gas field in the eastern Mediterranean.

    Israel and Lebanon last fought a war in 2006, when Tel Aviv launched an invasion in response to a cross-border raid by Hezbollah and the abduction of two Israeli soldiers. The conflict lasted 34 days and led to the deaths of over 1,300 people and the destruction of much of Lebanon's infrastructure. The conflict was halted by a UN-brokered ceasefire.

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    Tags:
    outpost, illegal, claims, allegation, United Nations, Israeli Army, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Israel
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