Israeli Navy Officers said Hezbollah has already deployed the Russian cruise missile, Yakhont, with a range of 300 kilometers and capable of striking Israel’s entire Mediterranean coast, World Tribune reported.
“We assume that advanced Yakhont missiles have also reached the hands of Hezbollah, and we are preparing for that,” Rear Adm. Eli Sharvit, Commander of the Naval Base in Haifa, said.
The Israeli Officers said Hezbollah deployed Yakhont in 2013 about a year after the Syrian Navy received the P-800. They said repeated Israeli efforts to block the delivery of the weapon from Syria to Lebanon were partially successful.
“Hezbollah is a highly functional organization, active in its sector. It continues to arm itself with strategic weapons, and has not stopped trying to get its hands on weapons that will influence future warfare,” Sharvit told a briefing on February 25.
The Officers said the Navy was being trained and equipped to foil the Hezbollah or Syrian missile threat against Israel. They said Hezbollah could use Yakhont to attack Israel’s new natural gas facilities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, Israel warned Lebanon on Friday to quash threats emanating from Hezbollah, after its Air Force raided one of its sites.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah threatened that it will respond to Israel’s Monday night air strike near the Syrian border that killed two of its members.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out the strike, in keeping with its silence on at least three such attacks over the past year targeting suspected Hezbollah-bound convoys of advanced weapons from civil war-torn Syria.
In an unusually forthright public statement about the incident, Hezbollah said on Wednesday it would “choose the time and place and the proper way to respond” against Israel, with which it fought a war in south Lebanon in 2006, AFP reported.
Israel has frequently promised to target Lebanon at large in any new conflict. “It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from its territory,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.
“It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack - whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind - on the State of Israel,” he told Israel Radio.
Israel is technically at war with Lebanon and Syria.
Israeli analysts have been mostly dismissive of Hezbollah’s threat, arguing that its fighters were too busy helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad battle a three-year-old rebellion to open up a new front with Israel.