Exclusive: Hizballah more than trebles rocket arsenal to 40,000
Hizballah’s heavy armament will figure large in the talks US Vice President Dick Cheney is holding with Israeli leaders on the Iranian nuclear threat. Cheney arrived in Israel Saturday night, March 22, from talks with Saudi leaders.
debkafile‘s military sources disclose that Hizballah has built up its rocket arsenal to three and-a-half times its pre-2006 Lebanon War stocks. Some of the 40,000 rockets of Syrian and Iranian manufacture can hit Israel targets as far south as Beersheba, 350 km. away from the Shiite terror group’s launching pads north of Lebanon’s Litani River.
Not only has Tel Aviv come within range, but Hizballah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza can between them cover most of Israel except for its southernmost tip at Eilat. Using these two surrogates, Tehran can therefore make war on Israel and keep its hands clean.
And not only Iran. debkafile‘s military sources report the lion’s share of rockets smuggled to Hizballah in recent months are Syrian-made. Damascus has also shipped to Hizballah quantities of anti-air weapons, including shoulder-borne rockets and scores of Russian-made anti-aircraft ZSU-100 automatic 14.4 mm caliber cannon, which are most effective against low-flying aircraft, helicopters and drones.
All these issues will be discussed at length mainly during the US Vice President’s session with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak.
On his arrival, Cheney pledged that his government would not pressure Israel to take steps that threatened its security.
“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable, as is Israel’s right to protect itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other attacks from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction,” Cheney told a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.