Druze leader Walid Jumblatt (radiofarda.com)
JERUSALEM – Hezbollah has returned to many of its strongholds in south Lebanon and is capable of launching another round of attacks against the Jewish state, Israeli and Lebanese officials tell WorldNetDaily.
The statements follow scores of reports Iran and Syria are attempting to rearm Hezbollah one week after a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon went into effect following 34 days of confrontations that began when Lebanese militia ambushed an Israeli patrol unit, kidnapping two soldiers and killing eight others.
“Hezbollah has undoubtedly returned to their positions,” Walid Jumblatt, Lebanon’s Druze leader and head of the country’s Progressive Socialist Party, told WND. “They were victorious against Israel and now they are regrouping for another round, which is inevitable.”
A senior Israeli security official said the Israeli Defense Forces estimates Hezbollah members were among the tens of thousands of Lebanese who returned to the country’s southern villages after the cease-fire was imposed last week.
The official said some Hezbollah members returned south in full view of the Israeli army, which has ceased most operations in Lebanon.
Last week, the official warned that Hezbollah maintains the ability to fire hundreds of rockets per day into northern Israel.
“Hezbollah’s infrastructure in areas nearing the Latani (River) was not destroyed,” the official said.
The official pointed to a volley of 240 rockets fired by Hezbollah one day before last week’s cease-fire was imposed, the largest number the group has launched. One Israeli civilian was killed in the attacks; 26 others were injured.
“The message sent is that Hezbollah absolutely maintains the capability of firing hundreds of rockets per day into Israel,” commented the official. “Wasn’t one of the military campaign’s main goals to eliminate the rocket threat?”
The IDF already has transferred to a symbolic contingent of the Lebanese Army the majority of positions Israel held the past few weeks, including the cities of Tyre and Bint Jbail, which contain large Hezbollah contingents.
Israeli officials say if the Lebanese Army’s deployments continue on schedule and if an international force arrives, Israeli forces can be withdrawn to within about one mile of Israel’s border with Lebanese in 10 days.
Meanwhile, according to reports, Iran and Syria are working to quickly resupply Hezbollah.
The London based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awast quoted leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards stating “huge supplies” of weapons reached Syria the past three weeks and are awaiting transfer to Lebanon.
Israeli security officials told WND Turkey has been working with the United States and Israel to stop arms transfers from crossing through its territory. Israel believes nearly all of the heavy weapons that Iran has provided to Hezbollah passed through Turkish ground or airspace en route to Syria and then to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
The Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported today Turkish authorities prevented five Iranian airplanes and a Syrian aircraft from flying into Lebanon, suspecting them of transporting arms to Hezbollah.
According to Hurriyet and other reports in Turkish media, one of the aircraft, a private Iranian airplane, was not allowed to leave for Lebanon after American intelligence reports indicated the plane carried three missile launchers and containers with Iranian Silkworm C-802 land-to-sea missiles. A C-803 missile badly damaged an Israeli naval vessel in July.
Israeli officials are worried the cease-fire will break down due to the arms transfers.
“Sooner or later we will be compelled to use aerial attacks to strike if we have information arms shipments are coming in from Syria,” said an Israeli Air Force official who spoke on condition his name be withheld.
The IAF official warned Israeli strikes are expected to be followed by a renewal of Hezbollah rocket attacks against northern Israeli communities.
Abu Oudai, chief rocket coordinator for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the West Bank, told WND if Hezbollah restarts attacks, Palestinian terror groups will join in.
“We are coordinating with all the powers. We are working hard to carry out all kinds of attacks. …The best is if [the next wave] is a war in more than one front,” Abu Oudai said.