Map of Hizbullah bunkers in south Lebanon 311.
(photo credit: The Washington Post)
The IDF has identified thousands of Hezbollah sites throughout Lebanon, making
its “target bank” many times larger than it was in 2006 on the eve of the Second
Lebanon War, a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post ahead of the fifth
anniversary of the start of the conflict.
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According to the officer, the
IDF had approximately 200 pre-designated targets on July 12, 2006, when
Hezbollah set off the war by abducting reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud
Goldwasser. Those targets included close to 100 homes and other storage sites
where the Islamist group had deployed long-range missiles it received from Iran.
The targets were destroyed on the first night of the war.
Today the bank
has thousands more sites throughout Lebanon that would constitute legitimate
targets in the event of a future war with Hezbollah, the officer told the Post
Earlier this year, the IDF released a map showing 950 locations scattered across
the country – a majority of them bunkers and surveillance
According to the officer, Hezbollah is also believed to have
passed the 50,000 mark in the number of rockets and missiles it has obtained.
Most of these weapons are stored in some 100 villages around southern
“Our intelligence is much better today than it was five years
ago,” the officer said of the growing target bank.
In recent months, OC
Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Col. Assaf Orayun, head of the
Planning Directorate’s Strategic Planning Division, have briefed senior
diplomats as part of an effort to convince the United Nations to strengthen
UNIFIL’s mandate, and enable it to operate independently within southern
UNIFIL’s mandate will be up for extension in August,
and the IDF is hoping that by raising awareness of Hezbollah’s growing presence
in these villages it might succeed in getting the UN to enforce a tougher
Currently, peacekeeping troops who want to enter villages need
to coordinate their moves with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which in many
cases warns Hezbollah.
“UNIFIL is doing an effective job in open areas,
and for that reason we don’t really see Hezbollah positions there,” the officer
said. “Instead, Hezbollah is based inside villages, since UNIFIL cannot go there
An investigation into a bomb attack against Italian UNIFIL
soldiers last month is continuing. Hezbollah and a Palestinian group affiliated
with al- Qaida have blamed each other for the attack, which injured six
On Thursday, the Beirut-based Daily Star
Hezbollah had uncovered two car bombs in southern Beirut.
months after warnings were received of a Hezbollah plan to strike at an Israeli
target overseas, the attack appears to have been foiled – for the time
Hezbollah’s desire to lash out at Israel was sparked by the 2008
assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the group’s military commander in
Hezbollah blames the Mossad, and reportedly has tried to carry
out revenge attacks several times.
According to foreign reports, such
attacks were thwarted by security services in Azerbaijan, Thailand and Sinai in
2008, and in Turkey in 2009.
In April, ahead of the Pessah holiday,
security officials took the rare step of revealing the names of senior Hezbollah
operatives planning another attack.
For now, the moves seem to have
deterred Hezbollah from carrying it out.
Defense officials said that
Hezbollah would prefer to attack an overseas Israeli target – an embassy, an El
Al plane or a consulate – as opposed to a border attack, as it would afford a
level of deniability.
The security sources named Hezbollah operative
Talal Hamia as commander of the small but well-organized unit, which also
includes his bodyguard, Ahmed Faid, and Hezbollah’s top bomb expert, Ali Najan
al-Din. Hamia was allegedly involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos
Aires that targeted the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish community
Another member of the cell, Majd al-Zakur, is referred to as “the
forger” and is responsible for preparing fake passports.
The cell is
being aided by businessmen, among them a Lebanese cellphone salesman and a