Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Iranian hand seen in tunnel network

  • Mark Dodd, The Australian-Israeli forces trying to root out militant Hezbollah fighters from southern Lebanon have uncovered sophisticated "Viet Cong-style" tunnel networks and encountered fierce resistance they say indicates the presence of Iranian military advisers. In its latest report on the fighting, British-based security and intelligence journal Jane's Defence Weekly cites a "senior defence source" who claims that what the Israeli army is facing in Lebanon is not a militia force but "rather a special forces brigade of the Iranian army".

    Jane's reports Israeli forces have discovered a well-established network of tunnels and trenches with entrances often disguised inside dwellings. Jane's correspondent Alon Ben-David told The Australian the tunnels were deep enough for the Islamic militant group to survive Israeli artillery and aerial bombardment.

  • Jane's Defence Weekly-The Israeli position is that Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general, had assumed that Israel's response to the attack would be relatively moderate and similar to those that followed previous provocative incidents since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. There is evidence that soon after the abduction of the two Israel Defense Force soldiers from Israeli territory, Hizbullah officials in contact with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had suggested the possibility of a ceasefire as early as that evening. Israel's prolonged military response appears to have come as a genuine surprise to the Hizbullah leadership.

  • AP-Hezbollah Says Israeli Response a Surprise: A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrilla group did not expect Israel to react so strongly to its capture of two Israeli soldiers. Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's political arm, also told The Associated Press in an interview that his group will not lay down arms. "The truth is _ let me say this clearly _ we didn't even expect (this) response.... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati. He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel to the July 12 cross-border raid, in which three Israelis were killed.

  • BBC News-Turkey and S. Arabia Close Air Space to Iran Supplies for Hezbollah: Turkey and Saudi Arabia have stopped Iran using their air space to send humanitarian relief to Lebanon, media in Iran have said. Iran's health ministry has been collecting supplies to send to the Lebanese people, the reports said. But the goods had to be sent via Dubai to Syria because of objections by other countries