'Hizballah controls Lebanese army,' says Israeli defence minister
Israel's right-wing defence minister has claimed the Hizballah militant group controls Lebanon's army.
Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that "the Lebanese army has become an integral part of Hizballah under Hizballah command", without providing any evidence to support the claim.
Hizballah is a member of Lebanon's coalition government, and its armed wing has long been seen as more powerful than the country's security forces. There was no immediate comment from Lebanon.
It is also an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has become notorious for its bombing of civilian areas.
The US has given the Lebanese military more than $1 billion in aid over the past decade, viewing it as a counter-balance to Hizballah and a partner in fighting extremist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Israel has expressed mounting concern about the growing presence of Hizballah and other Iranian-backed militias in neighbouring Syria.
Earlier this month Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the controversial Iraqi-Kurdish referendum, which Israel has shown full support of, will only deepen divisions in the region and must be opposed.
Speaking on the eve and day of Ashura - a Shia religious ceremony marked by many of Hizballah's followers - he accused Israel of sowing divisions in the Middle East.