TEL AVIV -- Israel's defense minister said on Wednesday that, should war erupt again with Lebanon, it will "pay the full price" for Iran's entrenchment -- the latest of Israeli warnings over Iran's growing influence in the neighboring country.
Avidgor Lieberman said that Hezbollah guerrillas have sacrificed Lebanon's national interests by subjugating fully to Iran. He says, as a result, all of Lebanon will be fair game in a future war.
Speaking to the Institute for National Security Studies' annual conference, Lieberman said the Lebanese army will be targeted and "if citizens of Tel Aviv are forced to sit in shelters, all of Beirut will too."
He also described as "very provocative" Lebanon's offshore oil and gas exploration tender on the countries' maritime border and suggested that Lebanon had put out a tender to international groups for a gas field "which is by all accounts ours."
His comments drew sharp condemnation from Lebanese officials including from Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who described Lieberman's comments as a "blatant provocation that Lebanon rejects."