The Israeli army's Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (Photo: Reuters)
The Israeli army's Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz has claimed that Lebanon's Hezbollah movement possesses more "military might" than almost all other developed states' armies.
Gantz's comments that the Shia movement poses a threat to Israel came at the annual Herzilya conference on strategy and diplomacy, according to Israel's Ynet news website.
"Show me four or five states with more firepower than Hezbollah: the US, China, Russia, Israel, France and the UK," the website quoted him as saying.
A 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, was halted by the deployment of a United Nations peace-keeping force of around 12,000 troops and navy personnel in Lebanon.
"The bad news from our point of view is that while Hezbollah is fighting on three fronts ... it is also amassing experience which we will one day face," he added.
Israel's top-level army official also referenced war-torn Syria and Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
He said that the situation in Syria provided Israel with "no good outcome", while also stressing the importance of Tehran not reaching the "threshold of nuclear weapon capacity."
The Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad – known for its anti-Israel stance – has been backed by Hezbollah and Iran in its three-year military confrontation against rebel fighters.
Frequent border skirmishes have taken place between Israeli troops and the Syrian army, as well as Hezbollah fighters, during the conflict.