IDF Says Hezbollah Weapons Cache Exceeds 60,000 Rockets, All Israel in Range
by Joshua Levitt
On the seventh anniversary of the start of the month-long Second Lebanon War, marked Friday, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has dramatically expanded its arsenal of weapons, exceeding 60,000 rockets and missiles in 1,000 military facilities, making the terrorist group capable of striking any part of Israel with continuous, precise attacks.
The organization’s missiles endanger Israel’s entire population, the IDF said. Hezbollah’s upgraded stockpile can strike at any of Israel’s civilian centers, including its southernmost city of Eilat. Thousands of missiles can strike targets within 40 kilometers, placing Israel’s northern region at risk of a devastating attack.
Seven years ago today, Hezbollah terrorists abducted two IDF soldiers in an unprovoked assault on Israel’s northern border. The attack sparked the Second Lebanon War, a month-long conflict in which Hezbollah fired over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians.
The war ended with UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The international measure sought to limit Hezbollah’s activities, demanding its departure from Southern Lebanon. In violation of the resolution, Hezbollah has dramatically expanded its weapons stockpile, building the arsenal of over 60,000 rockets and missiles near Israel’s border.
Since the war, Hezbollah has tripled the size of its missile arsenal. In 2010, Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates commented that Hezbollah “has more missiles than most governments in the world.” IDF officials have expressed similar concerns, citing intelligence analysis that points to the rapid growth of Hezbollah’s stockpile.
In 2009, an IDF intelligence report revealed that Hezbollah had built close to 1,000 military facilities throughout Southern Lebanon. The installations included more than 550 weapons bunkers and 300 underground facilities. Since the report’s release, Hezbollah has continued to build facilities in the region, enhancing its ability to strike at nearby Israeli towns and cities.
Hezbollah’s weapons are capable of causing far more substantial damage than its 2006 arsenal. With its current abilities, Hezbollah is capable of bombarding Israel with continuous, precise attacks over an extended period of time.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has boasted about the broad reach of Hezbollah’s missiles. In a 2007 news interview, he asserted that the group’s missiles “could absolutely reach any corner and any point” in Israel’s territory. In a speech in August 2012, he proclaimed that a future Hezbollah assault would “turn the lives of thousands of Zionists into a living hell.”
The terrorist organization receives most of its missiles from Iran and Syria, its key supporters in the region. With help from both countries, the organization regularly smuggles weapons into Lebanon. In 2009, Israel’s Navy intercepted a ship carrying 500 tons of weapons intended for Hezbollah operatives.
Hezbollah intentionally places many of its weapons in populated areas – using Lebanon’s people as human shields, the IDF said. This strategy ensures that counter attacks targeting terrorists will instead strike civilian communities. There are 160 villages in Southern Lebanon alone where Hezbollah is hiding weapons.
The organization’s method is evident in the Lebanese village of al-Khiam. Approximately 90 terrorists operate in the village, where Hezbollah uses homes, schools and hospitals to store thousands of tons of bombs and explosives.
The IDF keeps a close eye on Hezbollah’s military advancement. With 60,000 missiles and 1,000 military facilities, the organization presents a major threat to Israel’s security. Seven years after its war with Hezbollah, the IDF says it remains determined to protect Israeli civilians and to stop terror.