Report: Hizbullah beefs up forces

Observer investigation in Lebanon reveals group has upped training to prepare for war with Israel.

Hizbullah fighters 224.8 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah fighters 224.8
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah is currently in the process of expanding its fighting capability, according to a report in The Observer on Sunday. Thousands of young men are being sent to training camps in Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in order to prepare for war with Israel, said the British newspaper. The report emphasized the fact that a high level of secrecy prevails throughout the military wing of Hizbullah; however fighters, activists, Lebanese security officials and UN peacekeepers were interviewed to gain an understanding of the current situation. No sources in the report were named. One fighter in the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon, the military wing of Hizbullah, explained that "the most important thing is never to talk... From the moment we begin our training, we are told two things: never disobey an order and never talk about the resistance. Hizbullah is not a job, it is not a family. It is a mix of religion, honor, dignity and discipline." From investigations in Lebanon The Observer claimed that Hizbullah was visibly building up troops and equipment. An international official stated that the area in the south of Lebanon was "empty of men... they are all gone, training in Bekaa [Valley], Syria and Iran." According to other unnamed sources, some training was conducted in Lebanon, while specialty training, such as use of RPGs and anti-tank missiles, was conducted in Iran. The reason for this apparent expansion of forces was discussed in the report by a Lebanese army commander who had worked with Hizbullah in the past. It seemed that Hizbullah's "success" as a conventional rather than guerrilla force during the 2006 war with Israel motivated further training to be able to defeat the IDF, he said. The commander explained that "now they want to expand to make sure they can stop the next invasion before the [Israeli] tanks reach the flat plains of the Bekaa, where Israel's armored units will have the advantage."