BEIRUT: Israeli Intelligence estimates that one in every 10 houses in south Lebanon serves as a missile storage facility or a launch pad for destructive devices against the Jewish state, Israel’s chief of military intelligence, Gen. Aviv Kochavi, warned Thursday at a security conference.
"One in every 10 houses in south Lebanon is a storage facility for missiles or rockets or a launch pad for devices that are increasingly accurate and destructive,” AFP quoted Kochavi as saying.
South Lebanon is a major stronghold for Hezbollah, which in 2006 fought Israel in a 34-day conflict that ended following the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that called for an end to hostiles between Lebanon and Israel.
The resolution also calls for the establishment of a zone free of armed personnel between the Blue Line and the Litani river.
"From Lebanon, Syria and of course from Iran, they can hit the heart of our cities, and the whole region of Tel Aviv is within their reach," Kochavi told those participating in the conference.
Hezbollah was not available for comments.
The Israeli general also warned his country faces growing threats from more conventional weapons, including "some 200,000 rockets and missiles," in the hands of Israel’s enemies, the agency reported.
This is not Israel’s first claim that south Lebanon is being used for attacks against it. During the 2006 July-August war between Lebanon and Israel, the Jewish state accused Hezbollah of using southern residential neighborhoods as launching pads for attacks against its army.
It has also accused the resistance group, which declared victory in the aftermath of the July war, of using southerners as human shields.
The U.N. has pressured Lebanon to disarm all non-state actors, particularly Hezbollah. In December U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for the implementation of U.N. resolutions that call for the disarmament of non-state actors, and said arms outside the jurisdiction of the state threaten the country’s stability.
Hezbollah has maintained that its arms are the only way to defend Lebanon against frequent Israeli aggression, citing the tripartite formula of the “army, the people, and the resistance” as the optimal defense strategy. - With AFP