Pages: 1 2
While these days the focus is understandably on Al Qaeda, alarming news has also surfaced about Hezbollah, the Shiite terror group that is clustered near Israel’s border and has taken control of Lebanon.
The French daily Le Figaro reports that Hezbollah’s arsenal now numbers 40,000 missiles, and that the organization fields over 10,000 fighters. Le Figaro also gives details on three Hezbollah units tasked with maintaining and transporting the missiles, and on Syria’s close involvement in the whole enterprise.
The article says that last January one of the three, Unit 108—in a move picked up by U.S. intelligence—received a delivery of 26 Syrian M-6002 missiles somewhere between Damascus and the Syrian-Lebanese border. While Unit 108’s main barracks are near that border, it also has a base near Damascus Airport for handling weapons shipments from Iran.
Le Figaro quotes the French Defense Ministry as saying Israel might strike Unit 108’s sites in Syria.
The paper also says the Syrian army has its own Scud missile base near Damascus. And while Syria denies having supplied Hezbollah with Scuds, satellite images seem to show Hezbollah operatives being trained in their use at the base.
Ron Ben-Yishai, veteran military analyst for Israel’s largest daily Yediot Aharonot, ascribes much significance to the report and writes that “whoever provided [Le Figaro] with sensitive intelligence information” had reasons for doing so.
One of those reasons, Ben-Yishai says, is:
to slam the facts in the face of international public opinion, so that the UN, the West, Arab states and the global media won’t pretend to be surprised if and when Israel undertakes powerful, destructive strikes. Such actions would target the immense rocket and missile arsenal in Lebanon, as well as the states that contributed to establishing it, that is, Lebanon and Syria.
Ben-Yishai goes on to note that in recent months Israel has been conveying that point to the international community, including declassified maps of how Hezbollah stores weapons near schools, hospitals, and homes in southern Lebanese villages. Hezbollah thereby wants to make it hard for Israel to attack the targets, while also setting Israel up for “war crimes” accusations if it does.
Pages: 1 2