IDF says Hizbullah is storing Katyushas in homes

Hizbullah has turned hundreds of homes in southern Lebanese villages into warehouses to store short- and medium-range Katyusha rockets, according to estimates in the IDF's Northern Command. On Wednesday, the IDF released video footage taken from an Israeli aircraft, showing a home that had exploded a day earlier in the village of Hirbet Selm - located some 20 kilometers north of the Lebanese border. The roof is seen in the footage with dozens of holes, which IDF ballistic experts said were the size of 122-mm. Katyusha rockets. According to the IDF, a cache of dozens of such rockets had been hidden in the home. The blast took place at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, and for the first few hours, Hizbullah sealed off the area and refused to grant UNIFIL or the Lebanese army access. IDF sources said that the clearing of the home and the unexploded ordinance had taken over 24 hours. The sources said the IDF had been aware prior to the explosion that the home was being used as a storehouse for weapons. Several months before the explosion, an IDF aircraft captured footage of several senior Hizbullah operatives entering an underground tunnel near the house and reappearing from an exit 700 m. away. "This house was connected to an entire underground network that was built right under the noses of UNIFIL and the Lebanese army," one IDF officer said. "This is a major violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701." The Katyusha rockets that went off in Hirbet Selm were being stored in a two-story home. It was unclear on which floor they were being stored, but the home was shown on Lebanese television in close proximity to other village buildings. In addition to the 122-mm. rockets, IDF ballistic experts said it was likely that the home also contained mortar shells and additional types of ammunition.•