Hizballah Doubles Pre-War Missile Count in Lebanon
Under the watchful eyes of UNIFIL forces tasked with carrying out UN Resolution 1701 which (again) calls for the disarmament of Hizballah, the Iranian-propped terrorists have successfully re-armed in Lebanon. An Israeli intelligence officer said, “We assume they now have about 20,000 rockets of all ranges — a bit more than they had before July 12.”
In the event observers would be inclined to dismiss the Israeli intelligence position as either exaggerated or alarmist, Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah boasts of even more weapons, saying that Hizballah now has over 30,000 missiles in stock, or nearly twice the number that it had before the start of the Israel-Hizballah conflict that ended just three months ago.
Hizballah has also resumed control over its original posts, both above and under ground, in Southern Lebanon. Israeli military observers say that the Hizballah terrorists now simply wear civilian clothes and show no more than AK-47 rifles publicly. Israel is “in a race” to determine precisely where the re-supplied longer-range ZelZal missiles are hidden. One of Israel’s most important accomplishments during the 34-day summer conflict was the immediate destruction of Hizballah’s larger and harder to conceal Iranian ZelZal missiles. Said one observer, “We believe Hezbollah have learnt their lesson and it will be much harder to locate them next time.”
Israeli defense officials have stated that they expect the conflict with Hizballah to resume by this coming spring. The IDF is currently in preparations for that eventuality, with careful studies of ‘lessons learned’ from the 34-day conflict, delaying a planned reduction in military service obligations from 36 to 24 months, and up-armoring their Merkava tanks that were vulnerable to the advanced Russian Kornet anti-tank rockets now in the hands of Hizballah in Lebanon and, not coincidentally, Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
While much attention was paid to Hizballah’s July/August use of the advanced anti-tank rockets obtained through Iran and Syria, the Kornet was first used by Hamas and that Popular Resistance Committees in their June tunnel raid attack from Gaza into Israel that led to the capture of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit, still held captive by Hamas and the PRC.
Israeli intelligence has been warning for months that Hamas has been engaged in massive arms stockpiling in Gaza for a coming war with Israel, with the majority of the arms paid for or supplied by Iran, often via Hizballah. Israeli intelligence also revealed that Hamas terrorists have used the extensive (and expanding) tunnel systems into Egypt not only to transport weapons into Gaza, but also to enable Hamas and other groups’ terrorists to travel from Egypt to Iran and the Hizballah-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon in order to obtain explosives and tactics training, likely including training on the advanced weapons systems new the Hamas, such as the Russian Kornet anti-tank rockets. Israel says that Hamas (among others) has undertaken the ‘Hizballazation’ of Gaza modeled after Iran’s proxy terrorists, specifically their tunneling tactics and advanced weapons.
What other missile systems Hamas has acquired via Hizballah is unknown, which Hamas has yet to use if they have them. The Palestinian terrorist group is, however, continuing to build and consume Qassam rockets for ground-to-ground attacks into Israeli towns.
Israeli forces raided and broke up an Israeli Arab arms network that was selling arms and ammunition from within Israel to Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank. While this problem from within adds to Israel’s current security troubles, it is not the first time such a network has been broken up in Israel.
It comes as no surprise then that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once again warned of Israel’s impending destruction. “As this regime goes against the path of life, we will soon see its disappearance and its destruction,” he proclaimed. Under Iranian auspices and supply, Hizballah has nearly doubled its pre-war rocket and missile stocks. Also through Iranian aid and supply, Hamas has increased its weapons stocks in both raw numbers and lethality.
The two terrorist groups serving as Iranian proxies can be expected to attack in concert when Iran deems the time is right. The question is only whether Israel will cede the initiative.