Hawzah News Agency (Occupied Territories of Palestine) - Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth paper said on Friday that the Israeli minister of military affairs, Avigdor Liberman, had assigned around 500 million shekels (145 million dollars) to setting up "a vast network of medium-range surface-to-surface missile systems" and "a dedicated corps" to run it in an attempt "to counter Hezbollah."
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, Liberman made the decision after a meeting with Israeli military officials on January 4.
The "initial aspects" of the project are reportedly to be completed by 2020.
Israeli media claim that Hezbollah is in possession of an "arsenal of more than 100,000 short- and medium-range rockets."
Israel waged two all-out wars against Lebanon — in 2000 and 2006 — but fell short of its military objectives in both cases in the face of strong resistance by Hezbollah and the Lebanese army.
On Wednesday, Liberman threatened the Lebanese state with another military invasion.
"Lebanon's army and Hezbollah are the same — they will all pay the full price in the event of an escalation," Liberman said. "If a conflict does break out in the north, 'boots on the ground' remains an option."
Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Hariri on January 25 called Israel the greatest threat to Lebanon's stability.
"The only threat I see is Israel taking some kind of action against Lebanon, out of a miscalculation," Hariri told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, back then. "And this is the real threat, I believe. I think the other issues are challenges, yes ... But when Israel decides to launch a war against Lebanon, this is something that is unexplainable."
Joint drills with US
Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets said on Thursday that the United States — Tel Aviv's main ally — had deployed military forces to Israel for biennial joint war games with the Israeli military.
The so-called Juniper Cobra military drills enlisted more than 3,000 forces from the two sides in its last edition in 2016.
The sources said the maneuvers would simulate engagement with the countries lying to the north and south of Israel, including Lebanon.