‘Hizbullah can fire 400-600 rockets a day in next war’

Mossad official’s estimate from leaked cable predicts Tel Aviv will be hit; Iran has 300 long-range missiles, IDF chief says.

January 3, 2011 03:40
2 minute read.
Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV

Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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Hizbullah would likely shoot between 400 and 600 missiles a day into Israel during a future war, a senior Mossad official told a congressional delegation to Israel in 2009, according to a US diplomatic cable published on Sunday.

The cable from November 2009 summed up meetings a delegation led by Ike Skelton (D-Missouri) held with top officials from the Mossad, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF. It was first published on Sunday by Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, which received it from WikiLeaks.

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According to the Mossad official, 100 of the missiles will hit Tel Aviv.

Hizbullah, the delegation was told, has 40,000 missiles as well as a number of Iranian-made Ababil unmanned aerial vehicles that have a range of 150 km. and can be loaded with explosives and sent to bomb strategic targets in Israel.

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told the delegation that due to the military buildup in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, he was preparing the IDF for a “major war” since it would then be easier to scale down for smaller conflicts if needed.

As a result of the growing rocket threat, Ashkenazi told the congressmen that the IDF was investing heavily in missile defense systems, such as the Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome.

While the Iranian threat was grave, Ashkenazi told the Americans that the threat from Hamas and Hizbullah, which were funded by Iran, was most acute since due to their proximity to Israel, their rockets would be more accurate.

Turning to Iran, Ashkenazi said that Israel would have 10 to 12 minutes to prepare after its radar systems detected an Iranian missile fired toward the country. He said that Teheran had more than 300 missiles capable of reaching Israel.

Ashkenazi also gave some rare insight into how Israel gathers intelligence on Hizbullah and locates targets in Lebanon. Israel frequently sends drones over Lebanon to identify potential targets, he said, calling their use a “success.”

In addition, he revealed that the IDF closely cooperates with the US National Security Agency, which gathers signal intelligence such as communications.

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