Beyond Haifa: Hizballah Vows 'New Stage'
The battlefield picture is beginning to make its way from the confines of south Lebanon and it bears the signature of Syria’s Bahsar Assad along with lengthy Farsi inscriptions. Today’s Hizballah, frequently engaging IDF forces in hand to hand combat on the ground, is “organized more like an army” than a terrorist group, bearing little resemblance to the Palestinians’ Hamas, Islamic Jihad or al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorist organizations. The New York Times quoted Major General Yaakov Amidror of Israeli military intelligence as saying, “Never before in history has a terrorist organization had such state of the art military equipment.”
Specifically noted was the quality and depth of Hizballah bunkers in southern Lebanon. In a John Batchelor radio interview from the field, Aaron Klein reported that one bunker taken by the IDF contained highly sophisticated surveillance and eavesdropping equipment made in Iran. If this is the case, it leaves only to the imagination what other man-portable equipment the individual Hizballah terrorist may be supplied and armed with by their state sponsors Iran and Syria.
Other weapons provided by Iran and Syria are more clearly visible to the public as rockets continue to rain down upon Israeli cities. In Hizballah’s Arsenal, Dan Darling described the various assortment of rockets and missiles that have been made available to the Lebanese terrorist group, including the much longer-range Zelzal missiles supplied by Iran.
The Zelzal is likely to be the weapon of choice for Hizballah as Hassan Nasrallah declared that the war had entered a new stage and vowed to send rockets beyond Haifa, currently Hizballah’s deepest reach into Israel. “I declare that we will enter the ‘beyond Haifa’ stage. In the new stage, our attacks will not remain limited to Haifa.”
The Zelzal has yet to be fired, though the Israeli Air Force has been actively seeking them in southern Lebanon in aerial hunting missions not unlike those of the ‘SCUD hunt’ that took place above the desert floor of Iraq during the Gulf War. Believed to have an improved range of at least 125 miles, the system – which carries a 600lb warhead – would be capable of hitting Tel Aviv from the southern Lebanon Hizballah den of Tyre.