Foreign media: Hizbullah trying to track IAF planes

Azerbaijani media: Iran, Syria helping terror group set up radar installations in Lebanese mountains.

s-300 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
s-300 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Iranian and Syrian militaries have assisted Hizbullah in setting up advanced radar installations atop Mt. Sannine in Lebanon's Beka Valley which can be used to track Israeli planes from the Mediterranean Sea in the West to Damascus in the East, foreign news reports revealed on Monday. According to a report in the Azerbaijan-based Trend News Agency, Iran and Syria recently completed installing radar stations on the mountain, which is in the center of Lebanon and reaches 2,600 meters above sea level. Israeli defense analysts said that while Syria did not need radar installations inside Lebanon to track IAF fighter jets, the systems could be used by Hizbullah in the event that Damascus supplied them with advanced radar-based air defense systems. The IDF's working assumption is that Syria has provided Hizbullah with such systems, for example, the SA-18. Defense officials could not confirm the report but said that they were aware of Hizbullah efforts to track Israeli aircraft in the event of another war. The reports of Iranian assistance in setting up the radar installations came as Israel grows increasingly concerned about possible Iranian involvement in Hizbullah's decision-making process. Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are suspected of having direct involvement in training Hizbullah fighters. Meanwhile on Monday, another foreign media outlet reported that the IAF exercise over Greece last month was conducted so Israeli fighter jets could study the Russian-made S-300 air-defense missile system, which is deployed on the island of Crete, and believed to be on the way to Iran. The S-300 is one of the best multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world today and has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time. Iran is believed to have already procured several S-300 systems to protect its nuclear facilities although reports have differed as to whether the systems have already been supplied by Russia. According to a report on The Cutting Edge News Web site, written by award-winning journalist Edwin Black, in December 2007 Greece installed the S-300 system in Crete following several years when it was stationed in Cyprus. In the beginning of June, Israel reportedly flew 100 F-15 and F-16 fighter jets 1,400 kilometers into Greek airspace in what has been described as a "dress rehearsal" for an airstrike against Iranian nuclear installations. According to The Cutting Edge, by flying within range of the Greek S-300, Israel was able to record invaluable information which could assist the IAF in developing means of jamming and defeating the advanced air-defense system. Black wrote that Iran had filed a bitter protest in Athens following the Israeli exercise, but was told by Greek officials that the S-300 had been "turned off" during the exercise. While Israeli defense sources said that it was not yet certain that S-300 systems had been delivered to Iran, The Cutting Edge cited Russian sources which speculated that as many as five batteries had recently arrived in Iran at the price of $800 million.