Sunday, July 16, 2006

Iran provider of Hezbollah's weaponry-source

Asharq Al-Awsat Exclusive16/07/2006

By Ali Nouri Zadeh

According to a source close to a high-ranking official in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Teheran has supplied Hezbollah with approximately 11,500 missiles and projectiles.

The source said more than 3,000 Hezbollah members have undergone training in Iran, which included guerilla warfare, firing missiles and artillery, operating unmanned drones, marine warfare and conventional war operations. He said they have also trained 50 pilots for the past two years.

According to the source, Hezbollah currently possesses four types of surface-to-surface missiles, some of which extend to a distance of 150 kilometers.

Katyusha missiles hit Tiberias, on the Lake of Galilee, for the first time on Saturday, while today Hezbollah fired rockets, which killed eight people in the Israeli city of Haifa, and bombs shook Beirut as Israel pursued a five-day-old assault in Lebanon aimed at crippling the Shi'ite Muslim group.

It was Hezbollah's deadliest rocket strike on Israel in at least 10 years and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it would have "far-reaching" consequences for Lebanon.
Hezbollah said the attack was retaliation for Israel's killing of civilians and destruction of Lebanese infrastructure.

Also in the news,

At 46, Nasrallah is also the most controversial leader in the Arab world, at the center of the most vicious new confrontation between Israel and its neighbors in a quarter-century. Yet he is not the prototypical militant.

Was it just a coincidence that Ahmadinejad's prediction of "a huge explosion" came only days before Hezbollah's assault across the border and its unprecedented attack on Haifa? Or did the rabid president of the evil regime that bankrolls Hezbollah with an estimated $200 million a year know what was coming? It was Iran that supplied Hezbollah with its immense arsenal of artillery rockets. When Hezbollah launches them at Israel, it is doing the bidding of its patron.

Mr. Olmert and his commanders believe that after enough bombardment in Gaza and Lebanon, Israeli towns will be safer, at least in the short term. Hamas and Hezbollah will run out of rockets, supply routes will be cut, and the rocket attacks will slow or stop. What they do not know is how long that process will take — or what other regional dynamic involving Iran, Syria or the Shiites of Iraq they will unleash along the way.