Days after Israel accepted the ceasefire deal with Hamas that ended their latest conflict, Egypt and the United States initiated an effort to end the Gaza offensive and the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
Hezbollah military chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech in Beirut on Sunday, that Israel will face “thousands of rockets that will fall on Tel Aviv and other areas if it launches an aggression against Lebanon.”
While Israel successfully destroyed half of the 10,000 short range rockets Hamas and other Gaza militant factions maintained, and destroyed, on the first day of Operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ most of Hamas’ Fajr-5 long range missiles, Hezbollah is believed to have restocked their rocket arsenal which they won’t hesitate to use in any event of escalation of serious tensions.
According to secret documents obtained by Wikileaks, and published in the New York Times in 2010, Hezbollah’s arsenal now includes up to 50,000 rockets and missiles, including 40 to 50 Fateh-110 missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and most of Israel and 10 Scud-D missiles.
Hezbollah fired at least one long-range rocket ineffectually in the 2006 Lebanon war, but Israeli intelligence now believes the militant group has the capability to strike anywhere in the country, raising fears of a conflict which could turn into a full-scale regional war.
While Israeli aircraft launched around 1,500 strikes on targets, facilities and government symbols linked to Hamas, the use of the long-range Iranian-made missile, the Fajr-5, fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time, did indicate the threat over Israel’s heartland is imminent.
“The Fajr-5 attacks shook Israel,” Nasrallah said in his speech. “How is it (Israel) going to stand thousands of rockets that will fall on Tel Aviv and other areas if it launches an aggression against Lebanon?” he asked.
He spoke via a video link from a secret location to tens of thousands of supporters in Beirut who gathered to mark Ashoura, the annual Shia commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson.
“The battle with us is going to be all over occupied Palestine,” Nasrallah said, “From the border with Lebanon to the frontier with Jordan to the Red Sea.”
The Hezbollah chief stated that Israel failed to achieve any of its goals, saying, “ Prime Minister Netanyahu did not set high goals for this war; he set low goals so that he would achieve them and announce his victory, but even these he failed to achieve.”
Nasrallah pointed out that “the first goal was to destroy the Palestinian resistance’s leadership. He failed in this respect. The second goal was to destroy the resistance’s missile system. He also failed (to achieve this goal). The third goal was to reinforce Israel’s deterrence power. The (Gaza) war rather weakened this power.”
He went on to say that the assassination of Hamas commander Ahmed al-Jabari is a big loss, but the resistance movements no longer depend on individuals.
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency last week charged a Palestinian man with relaying information to Hezbollah in Lebanon about sensitive government sites, including the parliament, the AP reported. It identified the suspect as Azzam Mashahara, a resident of east Jerusalem. The agency said the indictment was handed down on Sunday, a day after Mashahara was arrested.
All of the sites identified in the Shin Bet agency statement appear on Google Earth. Mashahara was charged with maintaining contacts with a foreign agent and relaying information to the enemy.