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Gantz: Lebanese to pay 'heavy price' if Hezbollah attacks Israel

Israeli defence minister and alternate prime minister Benny Gantz wears a protective mask as he attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem on July 5, 2020 [GALI TIBBON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli defence minister and alternate prime minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on 5 July 2020 [GALI TIBBON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has threatened to make the people of Lebanon pay a "heavy price" if Hezbollah attacks Israel, it was reported on Monday.

"If a front breaks out in the north, the country of Lebanon will be the one to pay the heaviest of prices for the weapons that have been scattered in civilian population centres," the Times of Israel reported Gantz as saying.

His remarks were made at a memorial ceremony for the 1997 accident when two Israeli transport helicopters collided in the north of the occupation state. Some 73 Israeli soldiers were killed in the accident as they were being deployed to Israeli army positions in southern Lebanon.

READ: 'Israeli drone crashed in Lebanon'

"We have clarified — again and again — that we will not allow Hezbollah and the Iranians to turn Lebanon into a terror state. Today, the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] operates and will continue to operate along the borderline and beyond it," Gantz insisted.

"We will not hesitate to strike Iran's efforts to rearm and entrench itself beyond our borders. And [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah knows well that his decision to build bunkers full of munitions and missiles and to position Hezbollah capabilities is a danger to himself and to the citizens of the state of Lebanon."

In closing, the former Chief of Staff called on the Lebanese government to "take responsibility."

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