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Political Analysis and Commentary
Freeman Note: This IDF release seems pretty stupid to me. Why not just destroy those sites NOW and stop the foolish games. The strength of the Heszbollah has been growing rapidly since 2006. Why does Israel always have to wait until it gets seriously dangerous before striking.There are three important strategic policies the Freeman Center has always emphasized: preemption, preemption, and preemption--Bernard
IDF Identifies Thousands of Hezbollah Sites in Lebanon
By Yaakov Katz
The Jerusalem Post
Photo by: The Washington Post
The IDF has identified thousands of Hezbollah sites throughout Lebanon,
making its “target bank” many times larger than it was in 2006 on the eve of
the Second Lebanon War, a senior IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post ahead
of the fifth anniversary of the start of the conflict.
According to the officer, the IDF had approximately 200 pre-designated
targets on July 12, 2006, when Hezbollah set off the war by abducting
reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Those targets included close to
100 homes and other storage sites where the Islamist group had deployed
long-range missiles it received from Iran. The targets were destroyed on the
first night of the war.
Today the bank has thousands more sites throughout Lebanon that would
constitute legitimate targets in the event of a future war with Hezbollah,
the officer told the Post. Earlier this year, the IDF released a map showing
950 locations scattered across the country – a majority of them bunkers and
According to the officer, Hezbollah is also believed to have passed the
50,000 mark in the number of rockets and missiles it has obtained. Most of
these weapons are stored in some 100 villages around southern Lebanon.
“Our intelligence is much better today than it was five years ago,” the
officer said of the growing target bank.
In recent months, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Col. Assaf
Orayun, head of the Planning Directorate’s Strategic Planning Division, have
briefed senior diplomats as part of an effort to convince the United Nations
to strengthen UNIFIL’s mandate, and enable it to operate independently
within southern Lebanese villages.
UNIFIL’s mandate will be up for extension in August, and the IDF is hoping
that by raising awareness of Hezbollah’s growing presence in these villages
it might succeed in getting the UN to enforce a tougher mandate.
Currently, peacekeeping troops who want to enter villages need to coordinate
their moves with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which in many cases warns
“UNIFIL is doing an effective job in open areas, and for that reason we don’t
really see Hezbollah positions there,” the officer said. “Instead, Hezbollah
is based inside villages, since UNIFIL cannot go there freely.”
An investigation into a bomb attack against Italian UNIFIL soldiers last
month is continuing. Hezbollah and a Palestinian group affiliated with al-
Qaida have blamed each other for the attack, which injured six peacekeepers.
On Thursday, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported that Hezbollah had
uncovered two car bombs in southern Beirut.
Meanwhile, two months after warnings were received of a Hezbollah plan to
strike at an Israeli target overseas, the attack appears to have been
foiled – for the time being.
Hezbollah’s desire to lash out at Israel was sparked by the 2008
assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the group’s military commander in Damascus.
Hezbollah blames the Mossad, and reportedly has tried to carry out revenge
attacks several times.
According to foreign reports, such attacks were thwarted by security
services in Azerbaijan, Thailand and Sinai in 2008, and in Turkey in 2009.
In April, ahead of the Pessah holiday, security officials took the rare step
of revealing the names of senior Hezbollah operatives planning another
For now, the moves seem to have deterred Hezbollah from carrying it out.
Defense officials said that Hezbollah would prefer to attack an overseas
Israeli target – an embassy, an El Al plane or a consulate – as opposed to a
border attack, as it would afford a level of deniability.
The security sources named Hezbollah operative Talal Hamia as commander of
the small but well-organized unit, which also includes his bodyguard, Ahmed
Faid, and Hezbollah’s top bomb expert, Ali Najan al-Din. Hamia was allegedly
involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires that targeted the
Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish community center.
Another member of the cell, Majd al-Zakur, is referred to as “the forger”
and is responsible for preparing fake passports.
The cell is being aided by businessmen, among them a Lebanese cellphone
salesman and a Turkish national.
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