JERUSALEM - Israel's military army has carried out nearly 100 strikes in the past five years on convoys carrying weapons to Hezbollah and other militant groups in Syria and elsewhere, a general said Thursday.
Former air force commander Amir Eshel told Haaretz newspaper that "since 2012, I'm talking about many dozens of strikes... the number is close to being three digits".
"An action could be an isolated thing, small and pinpointed, or it could be an intense week involving a great many elements," he said of the strikes.
Since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has maintained a policy of attacking arms convoys intended for its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime and fought a devastating war against the Jewish state in 2006.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year that Israel had "taken military action" against Iranian convoys leading weapons to Hezbollah "dozens and dozens of times".
Israel also carries out strikes in retaliation for spillover in fighting on the Golan Heights facing Syria when rockets or other projectiles have landed over the demarcation line.
According to Eshel, who was commander of the air force for five years, the strikes had been precise enough to avoid escalation, but at the same time they had served as a deterrent to war with Israel.
"I think that in the view of our enemies, as I understand things, this language is clear here and also understood beyond the Middle East," Eshel told Haaretz.
He did not specify the location of the strikes, but Haaretz said they were carried out on a number of different fronts.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
Around 510 square kilometres remain under Syrian control.