Israeli intelligence: Hizballah stocks tens of thousands of rockets in restored bunkers
Head of AMAN’s research division Brig. Yossi Baidatz brought bad news on two fronts to the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee Tuesday, June 17. He reported that Hamas needed a ceasefire in Gaza after 350 of its terrorists had been killed. In his view, this ceasefire if finally negotiated would be fragile and short-lived.
As for Israel’s northern front, Baidatz confirmed debkafile‘s previous reports that Hizballah has stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets in fortified tunnels, in numbers far outstripping its pre-Lebanon War 2006 strength.
debkafile‘s military sources add: Iranian Revolutionary Guards engineers recently finished building three clusters of bunkers, fortified against aerial attack, to store the rockets Syria and Iran have lavished on Hizballah in the last two years.
One cluster is located in the Beqaa Valley, close to northeast Lebanon’s border with Syria. Built to house long-range rockets, these tunnels have wide openings so that they can be used as launching pads for rockets out of reach of Israeli bombers. A second, in central Lebanon, north of the strategic Beirut-Damascus highway, accommodates medium-range rockets. Syrian air and anti-tank forces will provide both clusters with an umbrella.
The third cluster is located in the south. It is armed with short-range rockets and other systems, including anti-tank artillery and missiles, designed to block an Israeli offensive.
Defense minister Ehud Barak was referring obliquely to this mighty Hizballah build-up when he said recently that Hizballah’s bunker system had been restored in South Lebanon, thereby refuting Prime minister Ehud Olmert’s contention that the war had weakened Hizballah.
According to our sources, most of the bunkers in the three new subterranean clusters are interconnected by one of three means:
1. Sub-tunnels broad enough to accommodate trucks and enable them to move about free of aerial attack and reconnaissance.
2. Cement-lined channels (picture) which keep traffic safe from air attack and serve as anti-tank trenches.
3. A fast highway network, which was laid for exclusive Hizballah military movements ahead of the tunnels and now connects all three clusters.
They are also linked by an autonomous telecommunications system. The Siniora government’s decision to dismantle this system in May generated the near-civil war which led to Hizballah’s violent takeover of most of Beirut.
While Israeli military intelligence warned the heads of government in good time about the tunnels and the vast rocket arsenal amassed by Hizballah, no orders came down to the army to liquidate it.
Political sources explain that the prime minister was deterred by fear that an Israeli military action against the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group, which is supported by Damascus and Tehran, would jeopardize the indirect Israeli-Syrian peace talks taking place through Turkey’s good offices.