Report: Iran Deploying Forces in Golan Druze Villages

Israeli military equipment works on the Lebanese-Israeli border next to a wall that was built by Israel in the southern village of Kafr Kila, Lebanon, Dec. 13. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Iranian forces have been assembling on the Syrian side of the Golan border, a Lebanese newspaper reported Tuesday. In recent weeks, Iranian troops and militia forces associated with Iran – along with Hezbollah forces – have been taking up positions in Syria, very close to the Golan border, Al-Jadid said in the report.

Some of the forces have positioned themselves within Druze villages – creating a dilemma for Israel, which would prefer to avoid attacking villages with Druze populations so as not to alienate its own Druze residents, the report said. The area is one that Iran has been told to stay away from by Russia, the report said, adding that the issue would certainly be on the agenda of discussions between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian officials, including Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, who are set to arrive in Israel Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Iran continued its threats against Israel. Iranian Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that advanced weapons with “high levels of accuracy are already in the hands of the resistance in Gaza and Lebanon. They are prepared to burn to the ground the [Israeli] foolishness.”

Shamkhani, who was speaking at a conference on space technology in Iran, also referred to the Gonen Segev affair and the Hezbollah terror tunnels. “There has been no greater embarrassment for the Zionist entity,which claims it is advanced technologically and scientifically, than for one of its ministers to spy on them, and the discovery of hundreds of kilometers of tunnels under it.”

In a weekend interview, his first in many months, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that the tunnels had actually been there “for years,” with work begun on them immediately after the 2006 Second Lebanon War. If anything, Nasrallah said, he was “surprised that it took them this long to find them.” At least one of the tunnels, he said, was 13 years old.

In the interview, Nasrallah was asked why Hezbollah was quiet during the recent IDF campaign to destroy the tunnels, and in response said that “we decided not to help [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi] Eisenkott, who made a big deal in the media about this. I could have spoken out about it after a couple of days, but that would have just helped them with their propaganda campaign.”

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