The secret weapons of Hezbollah
According to the online magazine French Intelligence, Hezbollah are building at least two factories in Lebanon to produce missiles and artillery.
Even though this news had been in circulation on Arab websites for quite a while, the French magazine provided more details about these structures, indicating their position and the kind of weapons being produced.
The first structure would be near Hermel, in the Bekaa, while the second one would be positioned between Sidon and Tyre. At the first site they would produce Fateh 110 missiles, which would be capable of reaching almost all of Israeli territory, with a range of 300 km and a high precision level. At the site situated on the Mediterranean coast, instead, they would fabricate small-caliber munitions.
These revelations come in conjunction with the eleventh anniversary of the 34-day war, during which Hezbollah fought against Israel in July 2006. Since then, bar for Israeli raids against Hezbollah, the border between Lebanon and Israel has remained relatively quiet.
During the Syrian conflict the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) completed a series of raids against Hezbollah placements and convoys, whist also avoiding giving details as to the nature of these missions. Some of these operations hit sympathisers of the Lebanese Shiite movement and high-ranking Hezbollah commanders operating in Syria, however according to reports by the media and IDF supporters, the core objective of this “holy war” has been to prevent the trading of sophisticated weaponry from Syria to Lebanon.
According to leaks published last March by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, these secret factories would be used as a response by Hezbollah, supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to the Israeli raids in Syria.
Speaking with members of Knesset’s (Israeli Parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee about this topic, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, stated that these raids are as fundamental as the struggle against the Islamic State, to reducing Iranian influence in the areas adjacent to Israel. Eisenkot claimed that the IDF in recent years have been working in order to prevent Hezbollah who are being aided by Iran, from constructing high level, sophisticated and precise weaponry. Mr. Eisenkot then explained that since the end of the conflict in 2006, the Israeli army has further improved its intelligence and operative capabilities.
Israeli Defense Minister, Avidgor Liberman, stated he is aware of the construction of these installations for Iranian armaments in Lebanon, adding that “he knows what must be done…”.
Similar concerns were also downplayed by IDF’s Head of Intelligence, Herzl Halevi, who said that he cannot ignore the fact that, for almost a year now, Iran has been working towards creating infrastructure for the production of weaponry. Other Israeli government spokespeople, like Eran Etzion, Head of Policy Planning for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claims that Hezbollah, with the experience gained in Syria, are preparing for a third Lebanese-Israeli war. A war in which, although the military capacity of Israel would greatly outmatch Hezbollah, would result in huge and unavoidable damage to inhabited areas and infrastructure in Israeli territory.
Signs of increasing tensions, at least at a verbal level, are coming also from Lebanon, where two days ago, Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, head of economic and social activities for Hezbollah, confirmed that the movement has developed new military capabilities which have gone unnoticed by intelligence agencies of rival countries. The war between Hezbollah and Israel, at least from a rhetorical point of view, never ended.