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Sunday, July 16, 2006

The ultimate human shields: Hezbullah using private homes as launch pads

A senior IDF officer disclosed on Saturday that Hezbullah has been hiding a large quantity of long-range rockets in specially-designed rooms built in houses in Southern Lebanon villages, operating under the assumption that the Israeli army will have difficulty in locating them and that it would prefer not to harm villages.

According to the official, the concealed rockets have a range of 40-70 kilometers (25-45 miles).

According to the official, “We took the gloves off in this confrontation, we targeted these places and will hit every convoy transporting arms, even if there are Iranian elements within it."

However, the IDF has decided to limit the pressure on the Lebanese government because it believes that there are elements in the government who are capable of bringing about change, and therefore the IDF is trying to avoid bringing down the government. According to the official:
"Imagine if we hit Lebanon's four power stations. It would throw Lebanon back years. Gaza [where Israel hit the power station two weeks ago] can't go any further backwards. But Lebanon will lose billions of dollars and it will take years to reconstruct [the power stations].... Israel needs to be very careful that we only put enough pressure on the Lebanese government to change the situation but not enough to make it fall."
However, one incident over the weekend confirms that the Lebanese government is actually siding with Hezbullah:
The Israeli Navy has become accustomed to absolute freedom of action in the Mediterranean. But on Friday the Hanit missile ship, fitted with what was supposed to be a peerless defense system, was hit, and four sailors killed, by a sophisticated Iranian-made missile that Israeli intelligence didn't know Hizbullah had.

The attack was facilitated in part by the Lebanese Army, which apparently gave Hizbullah precise information relating to the Hanit - the same Lebanese Army that Israel, in its stated aims for this conflict, has said it insists on seeing deployed in the south as a barrier to a continued Hizbullah threat. With a protective force like that, one might ask, who needs enemies?
By the way, the Navy has admitted that because it did not know that Hezbullah had the C-802 missiles made in China, and upgraded in Iran, the Hanit's missile detection system was off. The IDF said that they have learned the lesson and that ships in Lebanese waters will have their missile detection systems on from now on.


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