Predicting that it is "just a matter of time" before Hizbullah attacks Israel, a high-ranking officer from the Northern Command revealed to The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the Lebanese guerrilla group had nearly returned to full strength and was almost at the level it was before this summer's Lebanon war. Syria, the officer said, had used the past four months since the end of the war to transfer - sometimes on a daily basis - truckloads of advanced rockets and weaponry to Hizbullah in Lebanon. The weapon transfers, he said, were not even executed covertly, but were conducted "out in the open" for the entire world to see.
The view from Mt. Dov
"Hizbullah needs to legitimize its existence, and therefore will continue to fight," said the officer, adding that if and when Hizbullah attacked, it would be up to the country's diplomatic echelon to determine Israel's response.
The IDF, the officer said, was busy training brigades and battalions in urban warfare centers in the North and the South in preparation for the possibility that a new round of violence would erupt. The officer said that while there was no clear intelligence indicating that war was on the horizon, the possibility of one was the "working assumption" for the Northern Command.
"We have a wide arsenal of potential responses," said the officer. "From another Operation Change of Direction [name of the IDF operation during the Lebanon war] to limiting a response to shooting the guerrilla who attacks."
The Navy has also been training for another war and on Tuesday night conducted a number of simulations during a visit by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to one of its missile ships.
The officer said that while it was possible that Hizbullah would attack Israel in the near future, it was also possible that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government would succeed in enforcing both order in Lebanon and UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
"If the Lebanese government does not implement the resolution then we are most probably on our way to another round with Hizbullah," he said.