03:44 GMT +316 December 2018
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    Israeli Operations in Syria Curbed Iran and Hezbollah – IDF Chief of Staff

    © AFP 2018 / THOMAS COEX
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    According to the outgoing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, Iran was unable to give Hezbollah precision missile weapons because of Israeli bombings in Syria.

    The military capabilities of Iran and Hezbollah near Israel's northern border are much smaller than they could be because of successful actions by Israel, outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said in a Monday statement.

    The departing general said that the Israeli army will continue to counter Iran's attempts to take root in Syria and create a missile delivery route to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    During his trip to the northern border, Eisenkot "praised the armed forces for their actions aimed at preventing the consolidation of Iranian forces in Syria and Iranian attempts to move precision missile weapons to the ‘Hezbollah' terrorist organization," the statement reads.

    The chief of staff, whose service ends on December 31, underscored that the military capabilities of Iran and Hezbollah are far from what they had hoped, and this is the result of continuous and successful Israeli operations.

    "The fact that Iran's abilities are far from what it had aspired to is a result of an ongoing operational activity," Eisenkot said Tuesday.

    "The army will continue to act in order to void such attempts [to move missile weapons to Lebanon], while simultaneously upkeeping the long-term security of the northern border," the statement reads.

    Tel Aviv acknowledges that the IDF has conducted 200 bombings in Syria over the last two years and says it's ready to continue its operations, despite the reinforcement of Syrian air defenses with Russian S-300 missile systems.

    The systems were shipped to Syria as a response to the downing of a Russian Il-20 aircraft by Syrian S-200 missile systems firing at Israeli jets, which Moscow has blamed on Tel Aviv.

    On Tuesday, a vetting committee approved the candidacy of Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi for the position of IDF chief of staff, according to a Times of Israel report. He is expected to step into the role at the beginning of next year.

    Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned last week, shortly after an Israeli offensive involving heavy bombing and ground special forces operations in the Gaza Strip. Lieberman appointed Kochavi as Eisenkot's successor while he was still in office.

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    military operations, missile systems, Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Hezbollah, Gadi Eisenkot, Lebanon, Iran, Israel, Syria
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