Senior Israeli Navy commander: Hamas, Hezbollah threaten our ports and oil rigs
Brig. Gen. Yaron Levi warns naval weapons smuggling on the rise; warns next war will see terrorist organizations use missiles that can hit ships, ports and sensitive infrastructure.
A senior officer in the Israeli Navy said Tuesday that terrorists groups close to Israel are in possession of missiles capable of hitting all Israeli ports and offshore infrastructure such as oil rigs.
Brigadier General Yaron Levi, the Navy's intelligence chief, spoke about the matter on Tuesday at a conference in Tel Aviv University that focused on the naval theater.
Levi reminded the audience that Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah recently said that if Israel imposes a naval siege on Lebanon as part of another war between the countries, Hezbollah will respond with missiles aimed at Israeli targets at sea.
"You don't need to be genius to know where our oil rigs are," he said. "I'm sure you can find their location on the internet." Levi pointed to the fact that a large part of Israel's strategic infrastructure is concentrated in a narrow strip along the coast, and said that "any damage to them would be critical."
Israel, he said, knows Hezbollah has Iranian-made surface-to-sea missiles, and may also obtain from Russian-made rockets that Syria has. These missiles, he said, have a range that "covers all of Israel's ports, our economic waters and a large part of the shipping lines to Israel."
According to Levi, Hezbollah's model "is being copied today to the Gaza Strip. In the future, we will have to deal with missiles, torpedoes, mines, above-surface weapons and underwater ones, both in Gaza and Lebanon." He added that Iran is a major player in the smuggling of naval weapons, and that "we assume that everything that Iran has can be brought to theaters closer to us."
After intercepting the ship Victoria a few months ago, Levi added, and seizing surface-to-sea missiles of a different type – Iranian-made C-704 missiles intended for Gaza, "everyone realized that the Strip is going in that direction – and that it is our duty to stop it." He said that in the last decade there has been a gradual increase in naval weapons smuggling to the area, as well as in their level of sophistication.