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Israeli US envoy: Hizbullah has 15,000 rockets on border

September 4, 2010 03:23

Ambassador Oren says Islamist group amassing arsenal in southern Lebanon with long enough range to hit Eilat.

Hizbullah rockets

Hizbullah Rockets 311. (photo credit:Associated Press)

Hizbullah has an arsenal of approximately 15,000 rockets amassed on Lebanon's border with Israel, including some with a long enough range to hit the southern city of Eilat, Israeli envoy to the US Michael Oren told AFP on Friday.

"The Syrian-Iranian backed Hizbullah poses a very serious threat to Israel...Hizbullah today now has four times as many rockets as it had during the 2006 Lebanon war. These rockets are longer-range. Every city in Israel is within range right now, including Eilat," he said.

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Oren expressed Israeli concerns with Hizbullah's concealment of the weapons as well.

"In 2006, many of their missiles were basically out in the open, in silos and the Israeli air force was able to neutralize a great number of them...Today those same missiles have been placed under hospitals, and homes and schools because Hizbullah knows full well if we try to defend ourselves against them, we will be branded once again as war criminals."

This was not the first time that Oren has warned of the threat that Hizbullah poses to Israel. Following a clash on the northern border between the Lebanese Army and IDF soldiers last month, in which Lebanese soldiers opened fire on two IDF officers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, Oren warned that the distinction between Lebanon's Army and Hizbullah has become "cloudy." He expressed concerns that advanced weaponry given to the regular army could find its way into the hands of the Islamist group.

Following the border clashes and Oren's warnings, the US Congress voted to suspend $100 million in aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report
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