Israel Wary of Hezbollah Buildup in Lebanon

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NORTHERN ISRAEL - Hezbollah is building its forces in Lebanon and that's raising tension at the country's border with Israel.

Since the "Arab Spring" fallout in Egypt and Iran's nuclear threats, Israel moved Lebanon down a few notches on its threat list.  But that could soon be changing.

The Israeli-Lebanese border has been relatively quiet here for the last six years. But Israel said Hezbollah is building its forces daily.

Their goal: Destroy Israel.

"I'm not sure that they want to ignite another war but interests can change overnight," Brig. Gen. Herzl Halevy said.

Halevy said those changes might include Hezbollah attacking Israel in an attempt to help Syria or acting on behalf of Iran.

Either way, "the retaliation of Israel will be very, very strong," he said.

In 2006, Hezbollah launched nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel. Since then, the militants have re-armed with thousands of longer-range missiles.

"If we get to another war, Israel will hit Hezbollah decisively, quickly, as fast as we can in order to stop the fire from Lebanon to Israel," Halevy said.

The Israeli military also believes Hezbollah is entrenched in the border villages. In many places, they say Lebanese families live on the bottom floors, while Hezbollah uses higher floors for observation or weapons storage.

The Israeli Defense Force said a video shows men who are not tourists but Hezbollah operatives coming to the border to spy on Israel.

"Most of the rockets, most of the places of Hezbollah are in villages, in towns in the southern part of Lebanon," Halevy said. "We will have no choice except for fighting and attacking these villages."

Halevy said any place that launches rockets will be destroyed.

He added that no one knows where Israel's next war might break out. To the West, the Muslim Brotherhood leads Egypt and Syria is embroiled in civil war.

But if it's from the north, he said it's his job to be ready.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Correspondents

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