Hezbollah General-Secretary Hassan Nasrallah has warned that Hezbollah is 100 times more powerful now, compared to its position at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Nasrallah delivered the speech to Hezbollah officials from a hidden bunker to the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon to mark the 11th anniversary of the end of the Second Lebanon War.
Nasrallah warned that, should Israel try to invade Lebanon again, it will suffer a much greater defeat than in 2006. Referencing Israel’s decision to close the 12,000-tonne ammonia tank in a Haifa Bay factory after Hezbollah warned it was a target, Nasrallah suggested the Israel should also relocate the Dimona nuclear reactor as this too was a target.
Nasrallah suggested that Israel was deterred from attacking Lebanon by the perception that it would pay too high a cost for such an attack. Israel, he said, failed to eliminate Hezbollah in the 2006 war. Nasrallah said “every time an Israeli official talks about Hezbollah becoming stronger, he actually admits Israel’s defeat to Hezbollah”.
Hezbollah has been boosted by advanced weapons supplies from Iran and Russia. The organisation now possess an estimated 130,000 missiles and Israeli intelligence believes the group is capable of firing 1,000 missiles a day into Israel, which would pose a severe challenge to Israel’s advanced missile defence systems.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibits Hezbollah from maintaining a presence in Southern Lebanon, but its apparent freedom of manoeuvre in the areas has led Israel to criticise the work of UNIFIL and its role enforcing the Security Council Resolution.
Israel’s security establishment currently believe that in the event of a third Lebanon war, the Lebanese army will participate either alongside Hezbollah, or at the very least in a supportive capacity. As a result, Israel’s may widen its targetting to include attacks on Lebanese infrastructure.