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Apr 20, 3:54 PM EDT

Israeli general warns of 'devastating war' with Hezbollah

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Conflict in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A top Israeli military leader on Wednesday issued a stern warning to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, saying any future war between the two enemies will unleash "devastating" damage on Lebanon.

Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, Israel's deputy chief of staff, told foreign journalists that Hezbollah has developed capabilities that present "unprecedented" threats to Israel. Israel estimates the group has over 100,000 rockets and missiles in its arsenal.

Golan said any future war will be "much harsher" than anything experienced in the past 20 years.

"In any future crisis, they are not going to see a small war in Lebanon. It's going to be decisive. It's going to be full-scale war," he said.

"That could create devastating damage to Lebanon," including in civilian areas, where he said Hezbollah hides and operates. "There is no other way to take out this threat without ... creating large damage to the Lebanese infrastructure, to Lebanese houses and other civilian facilities."

Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in the summer of 2006 that ended in a stalemate.

The fighting killed about 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, and about 160 Israelis. Israeli airstrikes caused heavy damage to Lebanon's infrastructure, while Lebanon fired several thousand rockets into Israel. Israeli officials say Hezbollah's improved missile arsenal is now capable of striking virtually anywhere in the country.

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