Diplomacy

FM of Bahrain Defends Israeli Campaign to Eliminate Hezbollah Terror Tunnels

In a surprising public defense of Israel, the foreign minister of Bahrain said on Thursday that the Gulf state supported the Jewish State’s operation to expose and destroy Hezbollah’s cross-border tunnels, The Times of Israel reported.

“Is Terrorist Hezbollah’s digging of the tunnels under Lebanon’s border not a flagrant threat to Lebanon’s stability, which it shares responsibility for?” Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa wrote on his Twitter account, in Arabic. “Who bears responsibility when neighboring countries take upon themselves to eliminate the threat they face?”

Shiite-majority Bahrain and Israel both fear Iran’s growing influence in the region and oppose Tehran’s military expansionism in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

In a second tweet, Al Khalifa wrote: “International powers see it as a dangerous threat and the Lebanese state doesn’t comment,” sharing a link to an article in a Lebanese newspaper about Israel’s operation.

Al Khalifa’s statement echoes views expressed by representatives of the United States, European Union, Canada, Austria and Germany, who all expressed support for Operation Northern Shield, which Israel launched Tuesday. So far, the Israeli military has detected two terror tunnels that stretched from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

The Algemeiner reported Friday, citing rebel-affiliated media outlets, that Hezbollah has begun mobilizing missiles from Syria ‎to southern Lebanon in a bid to counter a potential ‎wider military campaign by Israel.

According to Syrian opposition sources, the terrorist group moved OTR-21 Tochka missile batteries, as well as deploying ‎short-range, Iranian-made projectiles in southern ‎Lebanon. The OTR-21 is a Soviet-made tactical ballistic-missile system ranging between 15 kilometers ‎and 185 kilometers (nine miles to to 115 miles).

In 2016, Bahrain and several other Gulf states declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization and ordered their nationals to leave Lebanon immediately, after determining that the Iranian-backed group controls Lebanon’s political leadership. Earlier this year, Bahrain officially supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression in Syria.

[Photo: The International Institute for Strategic Studies / YouTube ]