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Israel warns against Hezbollah win in Lebanon vote

Israeli ministers warned on Sunday that a victory by an alliance headed by its foe Hezbollah in Lebanon's election would be a dangerous development for the region.

world Updated: Jun 07, 2009 14:56 IST

Israeli ministers warned on Sunday that a victory by an alliance headed by its foe Hezbollah in Lebanon's election would be a dangerous development for the region.

"If Hezbollah wins the election, it will be very bad and will create another Iranian entity in the Middle East after Hamas," said Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

"Iran is trying to take over Lebanon and that would be a very negative development," he warned. "The Iranian threat is gaining speed and obliges us, together with the moderate Arab states and the United States, to take action."

The Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim Hezbollah, blacklisted as a terrorist group by the United States, is heading an alliance in Sunday's parliamentary vote in Lebanon that could defeat the Western-backed ruling majority.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party said that if Hezbollah's alliance wins, "Lebanon will become a terror state."

"We will have to think what we will do in such a situation, God forbid, once it happens," he said.

In 2006, Israel fought a devastating war with Hezbollah -- formed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon -- that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is one of Israel's most wanted men.