(photo credit: AP)
Lebanese defense officials believe there is a secret pact between Hizbullah and top officers in the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the Kuwaiti paper Asiyassa reported on Monday.
According to the account, a LAF battalion will operate within the Hizbullah framework and have independence and access to the group's arsenal.
The paper said Israel gave the United States and European governments which have UNIFIL contingencies (France, Germany, Spain and Italy) information which proves Hizbullah was training dozens of LAF soldiers to prepare them to fight alongside Hizbullah guerrillas in case the IDF attacks Lebanon. Israel conveyed the information on July 1, according to the report.
The LAF battalion in Hizbullah, according to Asiyassa, will include 150 troops who will have access to areas south of the Litani River from where Hizbullah fighters are currently banned in the framework of UN Resolution 1701. Hizbullah reportedly trained the officers on the use of specific Iranian missiles with average- and long-distance ranges.
The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the Kuwaiti report.
On Monday morning, Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was quoted by two Lebanese newspapers as warning that the group would strike Tel Aviv with missiles from Lebanon if Israel attacked the guerrillas' south Beirut stronghold in a new war.
The papers - As-Safir and Al-Akhbar - both with close ties to Hizbullah - said Nasrallah made the threat during a weekend closed meeting with a group of Lebanese expatriates.
"The former equation has changed. Now it will be Dahiyeh against Tel Aviv, not Beirut against Tel Aviv," Nasrallah was quoted as saying.
The southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh houses Hizbullah's headquarters.
He warned that if the Israelis hits Beirut, "there will be a more painful equation for the Israelis." The papers did not elaborate.
A Hizbullah media official contacted by The Associated Press could not confirm the reports, which is not unusual for the group.
Over the weekend, Nasrallah said he believed Israel would initiate an attack against Lebanon by the summer of 2010.