TEL AVIV, Israel, March 18 (UPI) -- Hezbollah operatives have been trained in Syria and Iran to use advanced anti-aircraft missiles, threatening Israel's air supremacy, Haaretz reported Sunday.
The Israeli newspaper quoted unnamed Israeli military sources as saying hundreds of Hezbollah operatives were trained in Syria and Iran to use surface-to-air missiles, a move that threatens to change the balance of power in the region and Israel's air supremacy.
The sources said Israel is concerned biological and chemical weapons will be introduced.
"The potential of escalation in Lebanon is huge, and Hezbollah continues to strengthen with regard to long-range weaponry and potential surprises on the battlefield," one military officer said. "We will have to find answers to the transfer of anti-aircraft weaponry, chemical and biological weapons. It could be the cause to change Israel's retaliation policy."
The officer said weapons are being transferred to Hezbollah from Syria, including drones and shore-to-ship missiles.
Transfers of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah began before the yearlong, anti-government demonstrations in Syria erupted and are expected to increase as Syrian President Bashar Assad "loses his grip," the officer said.