Israel accused Hezbollah on Wednesday of setting up military bases inside residential buildings and threatened that it would target these bases in any future conflict, even if civilians are killed.
According to Israeli officials, Iran and Syria have supplied more sophisticated missiles to Hezbollah, which defended Lebanon against the technologically superior Israeli military in July 2006.
Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported that: "The unusually explicit threat by air force chief Major General Amir Eshel appeared to be part of an effort by Israeli officials to prepare world opinion for high civilian casualties in any new confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon."
The newspaper noted that last year Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon showed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an Israeli map of alleged military sites for Hezbollah in villages in southern Lebanon, further suggesting that Israel is threatening a high civilian death toll in any future war.
According to Agence France Presse, during the July 2006 war 1,287 Lebanese died, nearly all civilians, and 4,054 were wounded when Israeli forces intentionally inflicted severe damages to civilian infrastructure, especially in southern Lebanon and in the capital city of Beirut.