Israel, Hezbollah preparing for new war


An Israeli military unit says it has developed a new system to protect against a chemical attack – it quickly measures temperature and wind direction to determine areas to evacuate then feeds hospitals casualty assessments.

The high-tech Lotem unit on Wednesday gave a rare exhibition of technologies against rocket attacks – one of Israel’s main security fears.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah lobbed 4,000 rockets into Israel in 2006, and Hamas has launched thousands from Gaza. None had chemical warheads, but Israel claims neighboring states have them.

Another technology analyzes a rocket’s trajectory to estimate where it will land. It can override broadcasts to issue warnings. A system still being developed would send cell phone text messages to civilians in the line of fire.

Hezbollah ready

In a related development sources close to Hezbollah have reportedly revealed to the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper on Wednesday that the party has completed its preparations for a new war with Israel, saying that its arsenal has been enhanced with several types of weapons and it has bolstered its defensive and attacking capabilities that encompass the entire Lebanese coast reaching all the way to the country’s eastern mountain range.

The sources told al-Rai that for the first time since the establishment of Israel, the decision of war or peace is now in the hands of Hezbollah.

Its preparations are not limited to ground operations, but include underground preparations where the party has set up a number of Indiana Jones style booby trapped tunnels, according to the sources.

A Hezbollah member has reportedly told al-Rai that the party is eager to confront Israel inside these tunnels, which it has equipped with technological defenses, sensory equipment, and mines.

The paper was told that the tunnels are not like Afghanistan’s Tora Bora, which the Israeli army had practiced on in military maneuvers .

“The Israelis won’t be able to benefit from the tactics they learned through their practices in such tunnels … Hamas has also followed Hezbollah’s example and developed the tunnels between Rafah and Gaza in preparation for the next war,” the sources told the paper.

Tension in Lebanon

Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, the Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.

Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife, others aren’t as worried and see this as a desperate attempt by Hezbollah to intimidate and scare the Lebanese and specially PM Saad Hariri. Some analysts believe that Hezbollah may use the indictment as an excuse to launch an attack against Israel .

The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported earlier in the month that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said on November 18 that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.

Aoun on Tuesday called for a compromise before STL issues its indictment .

” We hope that a compromise will happen, since no one wants a clash. But is there a wish for compromise ? If this wish is found, then is there ability , especially since there is an international game and it appears that they cannot separate themselves from it”.

Washington Post, Naharnet