The Israeli military says the Hezbollah militia has riddled southern Lebanon with bunkers and underground weapons depots, with most located in civilian villages.
Military intelligence estimates that since the 2006 war “Hezbollah has built as many as 550 bunkers in the southern Lebanon region, holding various weapons. In addition, the organisation has built 300 underground facilities and 100 storage units for munitions including rockets, missiles and other weapons,” said the memo seen by AFP.
“Many of these terror centres are located near hospitals, private homes and schools, Hezbollah’s way of taking advantage of the civilian population of Lebanon,” it said.
Israel estimates that Hezbollah has an arsenal of 40,000 short- and medium-range rockets, which are being held in towns and villages across the south — a significant rise from the 14,000 rockets held by the group in 2006.
It says the stockpile includes hundreds of longer-range rockets, some with a range of more than 300 kilometres (116 miles), capable of reaching major Israeli population centres.
The military believes Hezbollah forces in south Lebanon number 20,000, more than a third of whom have undergone combat training in Iran.
The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah destroyed much of Lebanon’s major infrastructure and killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
photo: A bunker discovered by the Israeli military is blown up near the Israeli-Lebanese border AFP