Israeli PM accuses Iran of stockpiling missiles in Lebanon


IANS Tel Aviv
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to Moscow on Monday morning to meet President Vladimir Putin to warn him that Iran is trying to "turn Lebanon into a giant missile site".
Ahead of his departure, Netanyahu said he intended to devote his five-hour visit to speaking with Putin about Iran's actions in the region, Xinhua reported.
"I will discuss with President Putin Iran's relentless efforts to establish a military presence in Syria," he said in a statement.
He stressed that Israel "strongly" opposes an Iranian foothold on the soil of its northern neighbour and noted that Israel was "taking action against (it)", without elaborating on those actions.
The Israeli leader also accused Iran of trying to "turn Lebanon into one giant missile site".
He said Iran is stockpiling in Lebanon precision missiles against Israel. "We will not tolerate this," he said.
Netanyahu will be joined by the Israeli Military Intelligence chief, besides his National Security head and an Ukrainian-born Minister in Netanyahu's coalition.
Netanyahu and Putin have met several times since Russia started its military campaign alongside President Bashar Assad's forces to coordinate their military moves.
Their last meeting took place in Sochi in August 2017.
Israel has long been lobbying the US and Russia, requesting them to avoid an Iranian foothold in Syria in the context of a possible peace agreement.
Israel and Syria share a disputed border in the Golan Heights, a territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1976 Middle East War and annexed it later.
Israel has been carrying out occasional airstrikes against Syrian army positions, usually in response to errant fire from the six-year war between the Assad regime and rebel groups.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 3:50 PM IST

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