Defense Update - News Analysis by David Eshel

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Iranian Support for Hizbolla

Updated July 18, 2006

Israel blamed Iran to be directly involved in the attack on the Israel Navy Hanit, Saar V Class corvette. An Israeli military intelligence official has also alleged that around 100 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were in Lebanon, acting as military advisors to Hezbollah.

According to an interview with an unnamed Iranian official, published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat arabic newspaper, since 1992, the Iranian revolutionary guards established 20 fixed rocket facilities, in the Bekaa valley in East Lebanon and along the southern border with Israel. They positioned 11,500 rockets and missiles, from the 107mm Grad and 122mm Katyusha rockets, capable of attacking targets at a range of 20 km, a Syrian made 220mm rocket, the Fajr 3 (240mm) also called Raad, and Fajr 5, (330mm, 70 km range) also known as Khaibar 1 or Iran. The Shahin (Zilzal) missiles have a range 110 - 150 km. In total, over 40 types of rockets and missiles were delivered to Lebanon, including the latest Iranian anti-ship missile, C-802 and surface to air missiles. One of the new types unveiled in this conflict was the Raad missile a 333mm rocket (shorter than the “Iran”), a "beefed-up" Grad rocket carrying up to 100 kg warhead to a range of 35-40 km. Hezbollah has three types of Raad missiles, which could represent various weight/range configurations enabling flexible positioning and engagement of long range targets further deep within Lebanese area, far from the Israel-Labanon border. These rockets were probably the types hitting the Haifa Bay industrial area and cities of Haifa, Acre and Tiberias during the weekend. According to Israeli sources, Hezbollah is being resupplied directly from Syrian army stocks, particularly 220mm Katyusha rockets. The Israelis attacked over 180 launch and storage facilities since the beginning of the hostilities in Lebanon, last Week.

The revolutionary guards established the first Hizbollah rocket unit in 1985, when, at the peak of their activity, over 2,000 Iranian instructors were active in Lebanon, training the Hizbollah guerillas. After the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, the Iranians shifted this activity back to Iran where they trained so far over 3,000 lebanese guerillas. These courses included artillery, rocket and missile warfare, use of unmanned and unpowered aircraft, and various aspects of naval guerilla warfare.

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