Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Intelligence officers: Hezbollah may strike Israel via another group

By Yuval Azoulay

Wed., April 02, 2008 Adar2 27, 5768

Hezbollah may try to carry out an attack in the North with the help of another paramilitary organization, which can provide it with deniability, intelligence officers told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee yesterday.

"We clearly identify a great deal of activity among Hezbollah," the intelligence officers said. "It is growing stronger on all levels, improving its systems, its units and is receiving a great deal of weapons and missiles for medium and long distances. Hezbollah is readying itself for an escalation that may break out in the North as a result of an operation against Israel. We are not discounting any possibility - there are assessments that they may carry out an operation in the North through another organization," the officers told the MKs.

Responding to a question on the presence of long-range missiles in the Hezbollah arsenal south of the Litani river, the intelligence officers said that "Hezbollah is operating in southern Lebanon, mostly in the villages, in secret and in civilian garb." Yesterday Defense Minister Ehud Barak and deputy Chief of Staff Dan Harel visited the northern border, accompanied by GOC Northern Command, Major General Gadi Eisenkut.

"We are looking at this calm and quiet view, but we know that underground there is a great deal of activity," Barak said yesterday. Echoing the intelligence analysis he said that "Hezbollah is growing more powerful, but so are we and we are following developments. Meanwhile, Hezbollah is deterred but we are on guard, there is daily activity of combat troops and we are learning the lessons of the last war. Israel is the strongest country in the region, and I would not recommend that any one from the other side of the border test us." (HAARETZ)


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