Israelis Fear New Lebanon War



By: REBECCA BITTON  
Published: July 13th 2010
in News » Israel

Aerial photo of Lebanese village
Pic: IDF

Concerns and tensions are mounting after the Israel Defense Forces surprisingly disclosed information about recent Hezbollah military activity, including stockpiles of weapons in Southern Lebanon.

 

New evidence, including aerial photographs, depicts villages in which Hezbollah is thought to be storing weapons. Israeli military officials said last Wednesday that the Lebanese militant group has placed its arms near schools, hospitals and other public buildings. This tactic resembles that of the 2006 Lebanon War where the use of human shields was carried out by the militant group.

 

This is the first time Israel has declassified information regarding Hezbollah’s positions inside Lebanese villages, pinpointing the location of bunker command posts and weapon storehouses.  Israelis have been harbouring concern that Hezbollah would avenge the 2008 assassination of one of its leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, in Syria.

 

A Hezbollah official told reporters that he would not comment on the information provided by the IDF until he has seen it for himself, according to Jerusalem Post reports.

 

However, farmers working near the Israel-Lebanon border have been eyewitness to Hezbollah fighters perched on towers overlooking Israel. The farmers have disclosed that their sightings of Hezbollah fighters side by side with militants speaking Farsi, the language spoken by Iranians. It is thought that Hezbollah has been collaborating with Iranian advisers including Hossein Mahdavi, head of the Lebanon Corps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Beirut.

 

IDF reports show that Hezbollah has received weaponry, including 40,000 new rockets from Iran and Syria, over the past four years with strike ranges between 20 and 50 km. Many of these rockets are Syrian-made and reportedly also produced by Iran.

 

Warnings of a repeat of the 2006 Lebanon War have been reported in Israel as well as in Lebanon.

 

Beiruit-based newspapers, including Al-Akhbar and As-Safir, have published articles whose headlines include “The July war is not Over.” American Free Press has reported that the newspaper As-Safir has tied the Lebanon war to the May 31st flotilla raid.

 

A column written by Tal Salman, owner of the As-Safir, read “It Is July 12 yet again and here we are, entering the fifth year of Israel’s open war on Lebanon, but rather on all Arabs and on Muslims in Turkey.”

 

French-language Lebanese newspaper L’orient Le Jour wrote, “Israel argues that Hezbollah took the state hostage, revamped and reinforced its arsenal and now is attacking UN peacekeepers via the people of southern Lebanon, who are at their beck and call.”

 

During an incident this month, UN peacekeepers were the target of attack when French troops were disarmed and attacked by Lebanese villages until Lebanon’s army intervened, according to the Jerusalem Post.



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