| ||Iran manufacturing, upgrading missiles in Iraq, Israeli intelligence warns
| ||World Israel News - Batya Jerenberg
“We cannot rule out the possibility of [Iran] using Iraq as a base from which to fire missiles at Israel,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan stated.
Israeli intelligence has discovered that Iran, in addition to its activities in Syria and Lebanon, is building missile-manufacturing factories in Iraq, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.
Israel is well aware of Iran’s efforts in Syria and has repeatedly stated that it will not tolerate an Iranian military presence in the country.
As for Lebanon – where the Hezbollah terrorist group, an Iranian proxy, is based – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly in September, revealed the exact location in Beirut of three Iranian missile sites.
Iran has maintained a strong political influence in Iraq ever since its longtime dictator, Saddam Hussein, was toppled by the U.S., allowing the majority Shiite sector to seize power. Iran has a proxy military presence mainly through Hashd al-Shaabi, an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of some 40 mainly Shiite militias established to fight the Sunni Muslim ISIS terrorists who once controlled a third of the country.
It is to some of these militias that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces transferred ballistic missiles last month that could hit Israel, Israel Hayom noted.
At a Jerusalem Institute of Security Studies conference on Sunday, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan informed participants that Hezbollah currently has a stock of some 150,000 missiles, Israel Hayom said.
“The commander of Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, wants to create another Hezbollah in Syria,” Erdan warned. “When [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas’ time is up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran tries to expand its influence to Judea and Samaria, too, as the Palestinian governance dwindles and they are in need of money and support.”
“At any minute, Iran can set off clashes that will expand to Syria and Lebanon, and we cannot rule out the possibility of [Iran] using Iraq as a base from which to fire missiles at Israel,” Erdan said.
Mossad Director Yossi Cohen, addressing a meeting at the Finance Ministry on Monday, stressed that “if we don’t push Iran out of the Middle East … we will find ourselves in a position of Iranian forces spreading throughout the Middle East, unchecked, even inside the Gaza Strip,” the report said.