French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to visit Beirut in the next days, amid reports that France will provide Lebanon with military assistance after Saudi Arabia halted its grant last year. The French minister’s visit affirms that France is going to support Lebanon’s military agencies after Saudi Arabia halted a Lebanese army grant in 2016.France has developed a plan that will be put into implementation the current year. It will see the reinforcement of Lebanon’s security forces to counter terrorism. In February 2016 Saudi Arabia halted a $3 billion program for military supplies to Lebanon in protest against Hizbullah’s policies and diplomatic stances by the Lebanese foreign ministry. The $3 billion program financed military equipment provided by France.
Hizbullah has been able to obtain strategic naval capabilities that could threaten Israel during any upcoming war, Israeli reports have said. It is believed that Hizbullah was able to obtain around eight P-800 Onyx shore-to-sea missiles, also known in export markets as Yakhont, the reports said. The party could use the Onyx missiles to “significantly threaten the Israeli Navy, the US Sixth Fleet and civilian vessels in the Mediterranean, as well as Israel’s newly built oil and gas rigs,” Israeli intelligence officials stated. “The Russian anti-ship Yakhont missile can be fired from the shore and has a range of up to 300 kilometers. Even the most advanced missile interception systems are unable to effectively intercept it”, said the reports.
Protesting Israel’s recurrent violation against Lebanon’s southern territories, residents of the border town of Mays al-Jabal staged a sit-in in the presence of MP Qassem Hashem and a number of journalists. Israeli troops fired tear gas bombs in the direction of the campaigners to disperce them which led to several cases of suffocation. Meanwhile Israeli airplanes hovered over the region. On Wednesday, a 12-member Israeli force crossed the electronic fence in the outskirts of Mays al-Jabal in the Kroum al-Sharqi area. Troops planted spy devices consisted of a camera and a transmission instrument that are both solar powered. The development comes amid high tensions between Israel and Hizbullah that follow an exchange of threats and amid unconfirmed reports of Israeli airstrikes on Hizbullah posts inside Syria.
Israeli warplanes struck Hizbullah and Syrian army targets in a number of hills in the Syria-Lebanon border region at dawn Wednesday, media reports said, drawing a rebuttal from Hizbullah sources. “Suspected Israeli warplanes fired at least six missiles at the al-Qutaifa mountainous region in Damascus’ northeastern countryside, targeting arms depots in an area where the regime forces’ Third Division is deployed”, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, quoting “a number of credible sources”. The bombing caused “destruction” but “there are no reports of casualties until the moment”, the Observatory added. “Hizbullah sources denied that the raids had targeted areas inside Lebanon”, Sky News Arabia added. The Hizbullah-affiliated Military Media arm meanwhile said “reports claiming that Israeli raids have targeted a region in Lebanon’s Eastern Mountain Belt and resistance posts in the belt and Syria’s Qalamoun are baseless”.