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Iran Resumes Building Missile Plants in Lebanon, Israeli Army Warns in Rare Article in Arab Media

In a rare article published on Arabic-language media, IDF spokesperson warns Lebanese civilians of possible war if Iran develops precision weapons in Lebanon and if Hezbollah takes control of the political system there.

Israeli defense officials believe that Iran has resumed building a precision weapons factory in Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forcesspokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, wrote in an article published Sunday. It was particularly unusual that the article was published on several Lebanese-owned websites and Arabic publications - including Voice of Beirut, Sputnik and Israeli radio's public Arabic broadcaster.

Half a year ago, senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and the chief-of-staff, charged that Iran had begun to build plants to manufacture arms in Lebanon. Israel threatened on a number of occasions to bomb the plants, which it suspected were under construction. 

According to the Israeli assessment, Iran wants to step up its efforts to improve the accuracy of Hezbollah's missiles and rockets and, as foreign media have reported, the Israeli Air Force has attacked some of the convoys smuggling precision weapons from Syria to Lebanon. This is something that Israel has indirectly admitted on several occasions. As a result, the Iranians have been seeking to get around this obstacle by transferring production facilities to Lebanon itself.

Last September, following the Israeli threats, it appeared that Iran had stopped work on the construction of the plants in Lebanon. Since then Israeli planes have on several occasions attacked military sites associated with the Iranians in Syria, according to foreign media reports. In September, a large weapons plant was bombed and in December, a base in the vicinity of Damascus built for Shi'ite militias operating under Iran's command was targeted. Now it seems Iran has resumed construction of the arms plants.

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