JERUSALEM (AP) " Israel's former air force chief says it has carried out dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys destined for the Lebanese Hezbollah group over the past five years.

The remarks by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel to the Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday revealed for the first time the scale of the strikes. Israel usually refuses to confirm or deny them.

Eshel said Israel hit weapons convoys destined for the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian forces, almost 100 times since 2012.

Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting during the six-year civil war in neighboring Syria, but has repeatedly said it will act to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weapons.

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Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets on Israeli communities during the 2006 war.