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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hezbullah fighting techniques and tactics

I found this fascinating post regarding how Hezbullah fights on a Lebanese blog. I'd be especially interested in hearing comments from those of you with military experience (I have none).
How do they operate?

Hezbollah have perfected the tactic of hit and run which makes it very hard for the Israelis, using traditional warfare techniques, to target them. They work in groups of five to six “elements” and each group is totally independent from the next group. Each has a general set of directives and most make their “plan d’action” as they go. This way, they are able to operate in the event of total loss of communication with the commanding base and there is no risk of anyone eavesdropping on conversations. And should anyone fall prisoner in the hands of the Israelis, he can only give out the plans of his group.

Each group travels using Cross bikes…this gives them flexibility as well as manageability on the terrain. Armed with light assault rifles and submachine guns and state of the art Chinese anti tank grenade propellers supplied by Iran, they are able to inflict severe damage to the opponent whilst sustaining minimal damage.

An example of how they operate can be given by the way they fire missiles, three bikes are used to perform the action:

1- One person stays at a distance providing surveillance and looking out for apache helicopters or spy planes
2- One group, on a bike, set up the launcher platform, without the missile. Total time: 5 seconds and they drive off.
3- One group delivers the missile and leaves. Total time 3 seconds.
4- One group sets the missile, fires it and leaves. Total time 10 to 20 seconds.
5- The first group comes back to collect the launch pad, if the observer informs them that all is clear, and replaces it in a subterranean hideout, to be used in the next operation.

All the groups leave in totally different directions.

The bikes are also used to lure the tanks into ambushes set up for them by fighters hiding in tunnels. The same tunnels are used to move between villages undetected and be able to surprise the enemy which relies on aerial images of the fight zone.

This fighting technique has caused great damage to the Israelis in their advance in South Lebanon.

It was observed that the only way the Israelis can counter it is by applying the charred land approach whereby any incursion should be preceded by heavy bombardment of the region by fighter planes, followed by a fine combing using heavy machine guns and helicopters before the infantry troops finally walk in.

Since the guerilla fighters hide between civilians, and operate from within inhabited or industrial areas, they greatly benefit from the coverage and lure IAF planes into bombarding civilians and factories which allows the Hezb to use the media coverage to its benefit.

Israel has had to resort to expelling all the inhabitants of the region out of the area and even beyond the traditional headquarters of Hezbollah namely southern suburbs of Beirut so as to minimize civilian causalities as well as any supportive action the Party of God can benefit from.

Read the whole thing.


At 1:00 AM, Blogger Judith said...

Here's a companion piece, from Stratfor.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger anonymouscoameq said...

Okay, so hezbulla is great at firing rockets with anti-personnel warheads at unarmed civilians kilomters away, but when it comes to facing Israeli Defense Forces they need civilians to hide behind:

"A high-ranking source in the Northern Command told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that Bint Jbail could not be attacked by air since there were still several hundred civilians there. The officer said that the fighting in the town would continue at least for a day or two."

The above quote is from page 2 of


In Bint Jbail, Israel is using tactics far more humanitarian than the US used in Falluja in Iraq. There the US would bomb or otherwise destroy any building from which enemy fired. This is standard operating procedure for urban combat. It is also the tactics used by Russia in Chechnya. Because of their humanitarian tactics there is the wrong impression that Israel is somehow not up to it's old, invincible standard, or that Hezbulla is proving Arabs can stand up to Israelis. It's one thing to attack an army in the field as in pervious wars but it's another to selectively remove gurellas from an urban area without harming civillians. The situation in Bint Jabail shows that Arabs can stand up to Israelis when they have innocent women children to hide behind and when Israel is constrained by international bias that other nations including Arab nations such as Syria do not have to consider.


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