- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel’s defense minister says the Hezbollah militant group controls Lebanon’s army.

Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that “the Lebanese army has become an integral part of Hezbollah under Hezbollah command,” without providing any evidence to support the claim.

Hezbollah 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.

The United States has given the Lebanese military more than $1 billion in aid over the past decade, viewing it as a counterbalance to Hezbollah and a partner in fighting extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

Israel has expressed mounting concern about the growing presence of Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces in neighboring Syria.

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