Beyt Ephraim




IDF Chief: Hezbollah has rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv 

Hezbollah guerrillas now possess tens of thousands of rockets, some capable of reaching up to 300 kilometers within Israel, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said on Tuesday. 

These capabilities would put Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well cities much further south, into rocket range. 

"There is a war in the Middle East between two camps, the extreme and the moderate, which is pushing Iran to take radical steps. Without Iran's support to finance weapons and terror groups they would be lacking the means available to them today," said Ashkenazi. 

"While it is calm at the moment, the borders are quiet in the north and the south, it is a misleading calm," he added. "Beyond the fences the terror groups are gaining strength." 

Last week, Israel seized a ship reportedly en route from Iran to Hezbollah carrying hundreds of tons of weapons. Hezbollah has denied any connection to the weapons found aboard. 

The Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah has stockpiled 40,000 rockets near the border with Israel and is training its guerillas to use missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, the Times of London reported a couple of months ago. 

According to the report, militants are now being trained in the use of both long-range ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-aircraft missiles to use against Israel. 

Israel, the United Nations and Hezbollah itself have all said that the milita is stronger today than it was during the Second Lebanon War. 

While the northern front has been relatively quiet since the 2006 conflict, Deputy GOC Northern Command Alon Friedman told The Times then that the peace could "explode at any minute." 

In July, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah predicted that Israel would attack Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon sometime before next spring. 

Nasrallah told Lebanese media his organization would launch missiles at Tel Aviv if Israel attacks the Shi'ite group's positions in Lebanon. 

He warned that "the equation had changed" in its method of resistance against Israel and threatened to attack Tel Aviv should the IDF bomb the southern suburbs of Beirut, as it did during the 2006 war. 

Senior Israel Defense Forces staff and defense establishment personnel have expressed extreme concern over the possibility of a serious incident on the Lebanese border in the near future. 

Tensions with Hezbollah have risen lately, especially since one of the organization's warehouses of Katyusha rockets in southern Lebanon blew up last month. In response, defense officials have held several high-level consultations on the situation. 

The explosion revealed that Hezbollah was still stockpiling rockets south of the Litani River, in violation of Lebanon's obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which marked the end of the Second Lebanon War. 

The Times obtained surveillance footage showing Hezbollah guerillas trying to extract rockets and munitions from the site of the explosion. UN peacekeeping forces were subsequently blocked from entering the site for investigation. 

Israel, meanwhile, has said that UNIFIL had precise information about the cache and a number of other installations where Hezbollah is storing rockets, but that peacekeeping force had done nothing. 

Senior IDF officers believe that Hezbollah has completely rebuilt its network of bunkers and arms stockpiles in south Lebanon, but has located them almost entirely inside Shi'ite villages rather than in open areas, as it did sometimes in the past. The warehouse explosion revealed this fact, and has prompted Hezbollah to worry that Israeli intelligence may know where its new bases are located. 


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