Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. FILE PHOTO

Israel's Bennett Hopes Lebanon, Iraq Get Free Of Iran 'Grip'


Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday he hoped Lebanon and Iraq will free themselves from Iran’s grip that has enveloped their political systems.

He said signs show that these countries might be "able to break free from the strangling grip of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."

Bennett was addressing lawmakers during a weekly cabinet meeting following last week's gun battles on the streets of Beirut which killed seven people and as Iraq's Shiite militias, that often serve as a proxy for neighboring Iran, took a beating in the national election.

Israel sees "developments and trends emerging from below, of forces who simply had enough with Iranian control and influence," said Bennett.

He added that every place that Iranians enter goes into "a whirlwind of violence, poverty, instability and failure."

The confrontation in Beirut erupted when Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allu the Amla movement called for protests against a judge investigating last year’s massive port explosion. The incident raised fears of the country being drawn into further violence.

Underlying the violence are Lebanon's entrenched sectarian divides and Hezbollah’s growing influence in the past decade in the corrupt political system.

Hezbollah however has decided not to escalate the tension and said it would not be pulled into more violence.

Reporting by AP

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