Blast rocks Hezbollah arms cache

Former chief of Iranian Revolutionary Guards: We could strike Israel with Hezbollah’s rockets.

By OREN KESSLER
November 24, 2011 03:33
3 minute read.
Hezbollah rocket launcher

Hezbollah rocket launcher 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

A large explosion rocked a Hezbollah stronghold in the city of Tyre on the southern Lebanese coast late on Tuesday night, Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper reported.

The paper quoted local media as saying the explosion occurred at a Hezbollah arms cache, and that no one was injured. A Lebanese security source declined to confirm the media reports, saying the cause of the blast could not be determined due to a Hezbollah closure of the area.

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On Wednesday, the former chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said contingency plans had been drawn up to deal with “possible scenarios” relating to the Islamic Republic’s enemies.

“If they are sensible, they will not create new tensions, but we, as military forces, are considering the worst scenarios,” said Maj.-Gen. Yahya Rahim-Safavi, also a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the English-language Tehran Times.

Rahim-Safavi said Israel was “within range of Katyusha rockets of our friends in Lebanon’s Hezbollah... Our missiles can cover all the occupied Palestinian territories and there is no point out of range and no limit on the number of our missiles.”

Hezbollah denied media reports that Wednesday’s incident occurred at one of its weapons caches. The claims are “not true at all,” it said in a statement, according to the Now Lebanon website.

The Lebanese Army said the explosion may have been caused by “a land mine or a cluster bomb” left behind by Israel, the website reported.

Lebanese military officials said the blast left “no visible traces.”

UN peacekeepers stationed in southern Lebanon told the Daily Star on Wednesday that they had heard about the explosion on the news.

“We have no information at the moment. We are checking this report,” UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said.

In July, a large explosion shook a Hezbollah building in a southern Beirut suburb.

Then, too, Hezbollah prevented Lebanese security forces from investigating the blast.

At the time, the DPA news agency cited various Lebanese newspapers as reporting that a small bomb or hand grenade could have been the cause of the blast.

Earlier this month, Lebanese media reported that an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, had gone missing over Lebanon.

On Wednesday, Richard Silverstein, the American writer behind the controversial blog Tikun Olam, wrote that the reportedly missing drone had in fact been deliberately grounded by Israel.

“IDF Military Intelligence (Aman) has out foxed [sic] Hezbollah by deliberately crash-landing a booby-trapped Trojan Horse drone in southern Lebanon,” he wrote, attributing the information to an Israeli official with “considerable military experience.”

“For over a year, Hezbollah has been attempting to discover how to jam the ground signals commanding the drone so as to disable them in flight.

When it discovered the downed craft, its operatives must’ve crowed that they’d finally discovered the key to success,” Silverstein wrote.

“This bit of hubris is how Aman drew Hezbollah into its net. Its soldiers dutifully collected the imagined intelligence trophy and brought it to a large weapons depot it controlled in the area. Once inside the arms cache, Aman detonated the drone causing a massive explosion.”

Channel 10 News reported that Silverstein has described himself as “the Israeli Julian Assange,” after the Australian founder of WikiLeaks. Silverstein, a native New Yorker, lives in Seattle.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.


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