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Israeli airforce bombs Lebanon or Syria or Hezbollah or the clouds or Iranian arms

This posting has these items:
1) Al Arabiya: Hezbollah vows response to Israeli strike;
2) AFP: Israel bombs Hezbollah target on Syria-Lebanon border, “Israel can attack Lebanon because it knows there will be no reaction at the national level”;
3) CSM: Israeli airstrikes along Syrian border aim at Hezbollah,”We have to prepare ourselves for all sorts of scenarios”;
4) NY Times: Israeli Warplanes Strike Near the Border of Syria and Lebanon, who was attacked exactly?;
5) Time magazine: Israel Bombs Hizballah Missile Convoy on Syria-Lebanon BorderIsraeli official says airstrike because Israel must defend itself and that Hezbollah is no threat;
6) Reuters: Hizbollah says will it respond to Israeli strike , Hezbollah threatens reprisal against this ‘blatant aggression against Lebanon, its sovereignty and territory’;
7) Ynet news: Hezbollah tried to use the stormy weather – and failed, a unique take on the air raid;

The Lebanon/Syria border. The star marks the spot which the IDF said was its target this week and was its target in May 2013. However, later photos showed that in 2013 it hit military installations and ordinary buildings round Damascus. See photo below.

Israeli air-strikes hit targets near Damascus, May 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed  for restraint to avoid an escalation in Syria’s civil war, expressing “grave concern” over Israeli air raids.Israel launched air strikes earlier that hit three military sites near Damascus, the second such reported attack in a 48-hour period targeting the transfer of arms to Lebanon-based Hezbollah, raising fresh concerns of a regional spillover. Words and photo, Reuters.

Hezbollah vows response to Israeli strike

By Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
February 26, 2014

Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah warned on Wednesday it will respond to Israel’s Monday night air strike.

“We will retaliate for this Israeli aggression, and the resistance will choose the appropriate time and place as well as appropriate means to respond,” the militant Shiite group stated.

In statements on Al-Manar television, the group said that the “aggression is a blatant assault on Lebanon and its sovereignty and its territory…The Resistance (Hezbollah) will choose the time and place and the proper way to respond to it.”

Security sources had told Al Arabiya News Channel late Monday that Israeli airstrikes targeted a site belonging to Hezbollah near the Lebanon-Syrian border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the target was a Hezbollah “missile base.”

The airstrike caused material damage but no casualties, according to a statement issued by Hezbollah.

Although Israel has yet to official confirm the attack and the Israeli military has declined to comment on Hezbollah’s accusations, senior defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Israel had carried out an airstrike late Monday.

Israel has fired artillery across the border, and carried out similar airstrikes inside Syria targeting suspected weapons shipments believed to be bound from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The eastern Lebanon-Syrian border area is frequently used by smugglers and Lebanese security sources say the target of Israeli strikes in Syria may have been trucks of weapons destined for Hezbollah.

Israel has voiced alarm that amid the chaos of Syria’s civil war, weapons could be transferred to Hezbollah, which is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fight an insurgency but has traditionally fought Israel.

Hezbollah, allied to President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has been battling alongside his troops in areas near the border and has lost at least several hundred fighters.

Although Israel has refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to take action to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining “game changing” weapons from its ally Syria. Past Israeli airstrikes are believed to have targeted Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and guided missiles from Iran. Israel has never confirmed the airstrikes

The Lebanese army reported that four Israeli planes had flown across north Lebanon on Monday night towards the Bekaa Valley before heading southwest towards the Mediterranean near Lebanon’s southern border with Israel. Israeli jets regularly fly through Lebanese airspace without permission.

Syrian anti-aircraft missile launchers, said to be the object of Syrian/Lebanese/Hezbollah arms smuggling. Photo by Sana Sana / Reuters

Israel bombs Hezbollah target on Syria-Lebanon border

February 25, 2014

Beirut – Israel, bent on halting any transfer of weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has bombarded a position of the powerful Shiite group on the Lebanese-Syrian border, Lebanese sources said on Tuesday.

“Two Israeli raids hit a Hezbollah target on the border of Lebanon and Syria” on Monday night, a Lebanese security source told AFP.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said the raids struck outside the border town of Nabi Sheet, a Hezbollah bastion where its fighters are suspected of maintaining a weapons store and training camp.

Residents told AFP they saw flares light up the sky ahead of the raids, which shook their houses.

They said they heard planes flying low and that the target appeared to be a Hezbollah position in the nearby mountains.

There was no official comment on the raids from Hezbollah, the Lebanese government or Syria, although the army said there had been Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

Hezbollah is an arch-enemy of Israel, and has sent thousands of fighters across the border to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as it battles Sunni-led rebels.

Syria has long provided arms and other aid to Hezbollah, and served as a conduit for Iranian military aid to the movement, which battled Israel to a bloody stalemate in a brief 2006 war.

Israeli officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down refrained from commenting specifically on Monday night’s reported raid although they confirmed a policy of interdiction of suspected arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

“We are doing everything that is necessary in order to defend the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

“We will not say what we’re doing or what we’re not doing.”

The commander of Haifa naval base on Israel’s northern coast told the Haaretz newspaper that Hezbollah was trying to procure sophisticated arms.

“The major players in the arena are active and relevant. Hezbollah has not stopped for a second to try and get its hands on advanced weaponry,” Brigadier General Eli Sharvit was quoted as saying.

Hezbollah ‘made itself target’

Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is close to Hezbollah, said the raids took place inside Syria, adding that “the nature of the target is unclear.”

But a Lebanese army source told AFP: “The raids most likely took place on Lebanese territory, but we cannot be completely sure because the borders in that area are not well defined.”

Waddah Charara, a sociology professor and author of “The State of Hezbollah,” said the raids would mark an important turning point if they took place inside Lebanon.

“It would be the first Israeli strike against Hezbollah in Lebanon” since the 2006 war, Charara told AFP.

He said Hezbollah had helped “legitimise these raids in Lebanon” by involving itself in the Syrian conflict.

“The moment that it violated that national boundary, and became a regional force subordinate to Syrian interests, it became a target for Israel and no longer enjoyed the protection accorded by the ‘nationalist’ character of its actions.”

Hezbollah enjoyed widespread support in Lebanon during the 2006 conflict with Israel, but its popularity has diminished in recent years, and its decision to intervene in the Syrian conflict is controversial.

Now, “Israel can attack Lebanon because it knows there will be no reaction at the national level,” said Charara.

Inside Syria, meanwhile, fighting raged in flashpoints across the country, with Hezbollah fighters joining troops battling rebels on key fronts, chiefly around Damascus and second city Aleppo.

In east Aleppo, government forces advanced into the outskirts of the Tariq al-Bab district in fighting that killed 17 rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

The advance marked the first time the army had penetrated the area since late 2012, when several months of fighting left Aleppo divided between a government-held west and rebel-held east.

An estimated 140,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted in March 2011. Nearly 2.5 million more have registered as refugees in neighbouring countries, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Israeli airstrikes along Syrian border aim at Hezbollah

Israeli airstrikes: Israel has not commented on reports that it struck a Hezbollah target Monday night, but the circumstances and recent history point to its involvement.

By Nicholas Blanford and Christa Case Bryant, Christian Science Monitor
February 25, 2014

Israeli jets reportedly staged airstrikes overnight Monday against suspected Hezbollah targets, most likely an arms convoy, along Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria. Although it was unclear which side of the border was struck, the area is under the control of Hezbollah and has long served as a conduit for weapons going into Lebanon.

The initial lack of comment from Hezbollah officials and muted response by the group’s Al-Manar television channel, which said the attack occurred inside Syria, suggest that there will be no overt retaliation. In keeping with usual policy, a spokeswoman with the Israeli military’s news desk declined to confirm Israel’s involvement, saying only, “We don’t comment on foreign reports.”

The airstrikes occurred late Monday night in remote mountains close to Janta, a small Shiite village adjacent to the border with Syria. Eyewitnesses reported hearing loud explosions and seeing smoke billowing from the hills. The attack was preceded by intense overflights by Israeli aircraft and the launching of anti-missile flares. Lebanese news reports said that four missiles were fired in two separate sorties.

Israel has repeatedly warned that it will attack consignments of advanced weapons destined for Hezbollah and has staged several airstrikes in the past year against suspected caches of anti-ship missiles and air defense systems stored inside Syria, so far without retaliation.

Maj. Gen. Eyal Ben Reuven (res.), deputy head of the Israeli army’s Northern Command during the 2006 Lebanon war, played down concerns that preemptive airstrikes on Hezbollah could spark a fresh war.

“Hezbollah now is very busy in [its] fighting in Syria, and the threat on Hezbollah in Lebanon. But I must say, … in the Middle East everything can happen. So we have, of course, to prepare ourselves for all kind of scenarios,” he told journalists in a conference call.

The Iran-backed group has played a critical role in helping the Assad regime hold its ground and has suffered several hundred dead and wounded in the Syrian conflict. Its involvement has also made it a target for Al-Qaeda-linked groups that have mounted a series of car bomb attacks and rocket barrages against Shiite-populated pro-Hezbollah areas of Lebanon.

The precise location of the airstrike was unclear. Hezbollah operates a string of training camps in the rugged hills between Janta and the villages of Khodor and Brital in the eastern Bekaa Valley. They include support facilities, firing ranges and at least two small identical urban warfare training sites.

The camps, built following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, are visible from the air and are well-known to the Israeli military, which flies surveillance missions over Lebanon using aircraft and pilotless drones on a near daily basis. However, the camps themselves are relatively low-value targets for risking a potential retaliation by Hezbollah.

Training camps

The fact that the group has built training camps in the open in the Bekaa Valley points to an increased need for such facilities to train new recruits and a degree of confidence that Israel would not attack them. Since the 2006 war, both sides have maintained a de-facto and cautious ceasefire along the Lebanon-Israel border.

Another potential target for Monday’s airstrikes is a Hezbollah depot housing advanced missile systems. Unlike the training camps, Hezbollah’s arms dumps are well hidden, often in specially built underground bunkers, and their locations are closely guarded secrets. If Israel obtained intelligence on the location of one or more arms depots, it would be a serious security breach.

The most likely target, however, and one in keeping with past Israeli attacks in Syria, is a Hezbollah cross-border arms convoy. A hardened dirt track that winds through rugged mountains from Syria to Janta has been in use since the early 1980s to ferry arms and ammunition from Syrian military bases to Hezbollah depots inside Lebanon. That conclusion is strengthened by the fact that there are no significant Syrian military bases along the border opposite Janta that would warrant an Israeli airstrike.

Monday night’s strike would be the sixth carried out by Israeli jets against “game-changing” weaponry in Syria since January 2013. Previous airstrikes reportedly targeted SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, Iranian-manufactured Fateh 110 surface-to-surface missiles as well as military bases belonging to the Syrian Army’s elite 4th Armored Division.

Since the 2006 war, Hezbollah is believed to have expanded its arsenal to 100,000 rockets and missiles, according to some Israeli estimates. They are believed to include Iranian- and Syrian-manufactured guided surface-to-surface missiles that could strike most locations in Israel, as well as long-range anti-ship missiles and air defense systems.

After a reported Israeli airstrike last October on a convoy of missiles headed from Syria to Hezbollah, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon did not take responsibility for the attack but declared that “we …. continue to maintain our red lines on Syria – not to allow the transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to hostile hands, especially Hezbollah.”

Maj. Gen. Reuven said that Israel would take whatever action necessary to uphold such a “red line,” though he made clear he could not confirm Israel’s involvement last night. “We have very wide range, wide scope of acts against it, from deterrence in one side, through diplomacy efforts, up to attack,” he said.

Israeli Warplanes Strike Near the Border of Syria and Lebanon

By Anne Barnard, NY Times
February 24, 2014

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Israeli warplanes launched two raids near the Syrian-Lebanese border late Monday, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency, raising speculation that Israel might have targeted a weapons convoy to prevent the Syrian government from delivering missiles to its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.

Israel has struck Syria at least three times in the past year, according to United States officials, to prevent sophisticated weapons from reaching Hezbollah amid the chaos of Syria’s war. Neither Syria nor Hezbollah has retaliated.

The potential significance of Monday’s strike depended on whether the raids hit Syrian or Lebanese territory, which was not immediately clear. Analysts said it would be politically harder for Hezbollah to refrain from striking back if Israel, its longtime enemy, had struck inside Lebanon.

An Israeli strike inside Lebanon would also represent a further escalation in the regional involvement in — and spillover from — the Syrian conflict. Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in the summer of 2006.

But Syrian rebels near the border, as well as residents of a nearby Lebanese town, said that the strike appeared to have hit Syrian territory. Hezbollah’s television channel, Al Manar, quoted Lebanese security sources as saying that no Israeli raid had struck Lebanon.

Fayez Shukor, a former Lebanese government minister who backs the Syrian government and lives in the Bekaa Valley town of Nabi Chit, near the site of the attack, said that the sound of warplanes was heard about 10:45 p.m. but that nothing had been hit in the town.

The National News Agency described the attack as taking place “between the Lebanese-Syrian borders.” That frontier is mountainous and poorly marked, and in some areas there is a de facto buffer zone that is technically on Lebanese territory.

Abu al-Majd, a Syrian rebel fighter in nearby Yabroud, said that trucks loaded with Hezbollah weapons were hit near the borders inside Syria. He said he believed the convoy was headed into Syria with weapons to back up the Syrian army in its ongoing battles there, in which Hezbollah is participating.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London said that Israeli aircraft had bombed a base belonging to Hezbollah forces that had been involved in fighting against insurgents in the Qalamoun area near the Lebanese border. The Observatory added that it did not know whether this was in Syrian or Lebanese territory.

Each side in Syria accuses the other of colluding with Israel, which is deeply unpopular in Syria. The Syrian government accuses Israel of supporting the rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad, while rebels say Israel prefers to keep Mr. Assad in power because he has not tried to retake the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967.

As usual in these cases, Israeli military and security officials refused Monday night to comment on the raid reports. Israel has maintained a policy of ambiguity in all the previous cases of strikes against weapons convoys or facilities in Syria or near the Syria-Lebanon border, refusing to confirm or deny involvement.

Yet Israeli officials have repeatedly warned in recent months that Israel will not tolerate the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah and will act to prevent any such action. American officials say that Syria provides a key route for the delivery of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah and has provided arms to the group itself.

Hwaida Saad and Mohammad Ghannam contributed reporting from Beirut, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.

Israel Bombs Hizballah Missile Convoy on Syria-Lebanon Border

An Israeli official confirms to TIME that an air strike on the Syria-Lebanon border was Israel’s doing, aimed at stopping certain missiles entering the arsenal of militant group Hizballah

By Karl Vick and Aaron J. Klein, Time magazine
February 25, 2014

Israeli warplanes hit a convoy carrying surface-to-surface missiles into Lebanon on Monday night, a senior Israeli security official confirms to TIME. The air strike, around 10:30 p.m. local time on the border between Lebanon and Syria, was the seventh known operation since the Syrian civil war began in 2011 and was an expression of Israel’s only clear policy regarding that deadly conflict: That it will not let Syria’s war become an opportunity for the militant group Hizballah to improve its anti-Israeli arsenal.

The specifics of the missiles targeted by the Monday strike were not immediately available. But the Israeli official indicated they could carry warheads heavier and more dangerous than almost all of the tens of thousands of missiles and rockets Hizballah now has pointed toward Israel. Earlier airstrikes targeted four categories of armaments Israeli officials warned it would destroy if detected moving into Hizballah’s home territory of Lebanon from Syria, where its forces are fighting on behalf of President Bashar Assad:

Advanced air defense systems—such as the SA-17 batteries bombed in a convoy outside Damascus Jan. 30, 2013. If deployed in Lebanon, they could intimidate Israeli reconnaissance flights that now operate with impunity.

More accurate surface-to-surface missiles—including the Iranian-made Fateh-110s, targeted in strikes last May 2 and 5 around Damascus. With a range of 190 miles and accurate to within 200 yards, the missiles could threaten specific targets, such as power plants, deep inside Israel.

Long-range precision land-to-sea missiles such as the Russian-made Yakhont hypersonic anti-ship missiles targeted by Israel at least three times last year, in May, July and October. Flying several times faster than sound, the cruise missiles would threaten Israeli ships and off-shore natural gas platforms.

Chemical weapons, which Syria has agreed to surrender to the United Nations for destruction—a process being watched closely. The Jan. 30, 2103 strike on the SA-17 convoy also targeted a biological weapons research facility.

“Our policy is clear,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, when asked about the overnight strike. “I don’t comment about what we did or didn’t do—but we will do whatever is needed to protect Israel’s security.”

Netanyahu’s remarks followed the fine line Israeli officials typically tread in the wake of such attacks–pointedly tough enough to underscore the country’s “red lines” but stopping short of explicitly acknowledging responsibility, lest leaders of Syria or Hizballah feel obliged to retaliate out of an insult to their pride.

Israeli officials have long said Israel has no clear stake in who prevails in the civil war. A victory for Assad would preserve the devil Israel knows—and by the end of a long war his regime’s military would also be severely degraded, as well as deprived of the chemical arsenal that had been Syria’s primary strategic weapon against Israel. A victory for the opposition might install Sunni extremists, including those linked to al-Qaeda, on its border, next door to the Shia extremists of Hizballah. But that prospect, however unwelcome, has not been enough to bring Israelis to intercede on behalf of Syria and Hizballah, both of whom are backed by archenemy Iran.

“The further we stay away from it, the better it is for Israel,” says retired Israeli diplomat Oded Eran.

And so Israel’s military picks its spots—so far successfully. Analysts say Israeli decision-makers have calculated that Hizballah is too busy in Syria to risk opening a new front with Israel, an estimate that Hizballah appears to share. The airstrikes Monday occurred in darkness—”They still think if they’re driving in convoy at night they can’t be seen,” muses the Israeli security official—in a mountainous area where the border between Syria and Lebanon is poorly marked. But Hizballah’s satellite television news channel Al-Manar reported no strike occurred on the Lebanese side, relieving Hizballah leaders of any reflexive obligation to defend their home turf. The Israeli official said the strike may well have occurred on the Lebanese side of the border, but emphasized that the pilot’s operational decision of where to direct his munitions is driven by a desire to avoid collateral damage—such as nearby civilian houses—”not this side or that side of the border.”

Reports of such air strikes are likely to continue given Hizballah’s determination to gain recompense from the Assad regime that its forces have spilled blood defending, says Eyal Ben-Reuven, a reserve major general who served as deputy head of Israel’s northern command. He spoke Tuesday morning in a conference call arranged by The Israel Project, a non-profit that promotes Israel’s viewpoint to the international press.

“I’m assuming we are not facing any real possibility that Hizballah will attack here on our border,” says Ben-Reuven. “I say that first of all because Hizballah is very busy with fighting in Syria, and with threats inside Lebanon. But that’s our logic,” he adds.

Hizbollah says will it respond to Israeli strike

The group said it would retaliate at a time and place of its choosing after claiming Israel carried out an airstrike targeting its positions near the border with Syria

By Reuters / The Telegraph
February 26, 2014

Hizbollah has threatened to retaliate after Israel’s first reported air raid targeting a position of the Lebanese Shia movement since the 2006 war.

The statement comes two days after Israeli warplanes struck a Hizbollah position in eastern Lebanon, amid fears that the region may be dragged into further conflict.

“On Monday night… the Israeli enemy’s warplanes bombarded a Hizbollah position on the Lebanese-Syrian border, near the area of Janta in the Bekaa Valley” in eastern Lebanon, Hizbollah said.

Wednesday’s statement was the group’s first admission that it had been the target of the raid, although Lebanese sources had previously reported the attack.

“This new attack amounts to blatant aggression against Lebanon, its sovereignty and territory,” the armed movement said, adding that “it will not stand without a response from the Resistance, which will choose the appropriate time, place and means”.

It also said: “This aggression did not, thank God, cause any deaths or injuries. There was only some material damage.”
Hizbollah, which brands itself a resistance movement against Israel, was formed in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and was the principal actor in ending Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000.

Hizbollah is Lebanon’s only movement that has not disarmed since the small Mediterranean country’s brutal 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

It has bases in the south of Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley in the east and in its southern Beirut bastion.

The group denied earlier reports that Israel’s raids had hit “artillery positions or missiles”.

On Monday night, a Lebanese security source told AFP two raids had hit a Hizbollah target at the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Hizbollah’s Al-Manar television channel had denied any raid had hit Lebanese territory.

On Tuesday, Israeli officials refrained from commenting specifically on Monday night’s raid, although they confirmed a policy of interdiction of suspected arms deliveries from Syria to Hizbollah.

“We are doing everything that is necessary in order to defend the security of Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“We will not say what we’re doing or what we’re not doing.”

It was the first Israeli attack against Hizbollah in Lebanon since the 2006 war that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Residents said they saw flares light up the sky ahead of the raids which shook their houses, and that the strike had pounded Hizbollah positions on the hills overlooking the Lebanese border town of Nabi Sheet.

Hezbollah acknowledged last spring that it is sending fighters into neighbouring Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as they battle a nearly three-year uprising.

According to Waddah Charara, a sociology professor and author of “The State of Hezbollah”, the raids could mark an important turning point.

Now “Israel can attack Lebanon because it knows there will be no reaction at the national level,” Charara said.
The movement enjoyed widespread support in Lebanon during the 2006 conflict with Israel, but its popularity has diminished in recent years, and its decision to intervene in the Syrian conflict is controversial.

Syria has long provided arms and other aid to Hizbollah, and also served as a conduit for Iranian military aid to the movement.

In May, Israel launched two raids targeting what it said were arms convoys near Damascus destined for Hezbollah.
And on November 1 last year, there were reports of an Israeli strike against a Syrian air base where missiles to be supplied to Hizbollah were located.

Hezbollah tried to use the stormy weather – and failed

Is it safe to deduce there was indeed a strike against targets near the Lebanese-Syrian border last night, and it is safe to assume Israel was behind it.

By Ron Ben-Yishai. Opinion / Ynet news
February 25, 2014

Judging by the quantity and level of accuracy of the reports in the Lebanese media, it is safe to infer that there was indeed a strike against targets on the ground on Monday night, likely on both sides of the Lebanese-Syrian border. One can also assume, judging by the nature of the reports, that there was intensive Israel Air Force activity during those hours.

From all of that, it appears that it would not be far fetched to infer that Hezbollah attempted to smuggle advanced weaponry into Lebanon last night.

One can also assume that Israel, as it has said it would numerous times in the past, did indeed act to stop the convoys leading these weapons from reaching their destination.

The strike took place in the Beqaa Valley area, a “traditional” area through which Hezbollah and the Syrians have tried in the past to smuggle not only advanced weapons, but also drugs and other contraband.

The mountainous area has wadis with wide dirt roads through which even large tow-trucks can pass. According to reports on the usually-credible Al Arabiya news network, this was an attempt to smuggle ballistic missiles from Syria to Lebanon.

There were past attempts to smuggle such weaponry – some of which Israel thwarted and some of which Israel failed to stop, so it can be assumed Hezbollah managed to obtain a small amount of Syrian-made advanced Scud D ballistic missiles with a range of 700 kilometers.

It is fairly easy to locate and hit these convoys, which carry relatively large loads like the ballistic missiles, even in problematic weather conditions.

The Syrians reportedly store the weapons meant for Hezbollah in a logistics army base near Damascus. The base is now under Hezbollah control, and the Shi’ite organization defends it from Syrian rebel forces. Convoys often leave this base towards the Syrian border in the Nabi Chit area to transfer the advanced arms to Hezbollah in the Beqaa Valley.

It is very possible that this is what happened Monday night. Hezbollah took advantage of the stormy weather, that makes it harder on intelligence mechanism to see what is happening on the ground, and also makes it harder on IAF planes to strike, in order to try to clandestinely transfer the missiles or other advanced weaponry. The weather was clear in recent weeks, and a window of opportunity was opened on Monday night that Hezbollah could’ve taken advanced of. This is probably what Hassan Nasrallah’s men and the Syrian army were trying to do.

Lebanese media reported on strikes inside Lebanon, but Hezbollah’s television station Al-Manar was quick to deny these reports and claim there was no strike on Lebanese territory. Al-Manar also claimed Hezbollah did not suffer any losses, but it seems like there were losses to Hezbollah men on the convoys, judging by Lebanese press reports.

Hezbollah rejected reports of an attack on Lebanese territory so it would not have to respond to these attacks. It is also possible the Monday night strike really did take place on Syrian territory, very close to the Lebanese border. In any case, Hezbollah does not want its major opposition in Lebanon to slam it for doing nothing while Israel attacks its ranks.

It is also likely that more than one target was attacked, since this is a convoy that was transferring advanced weaponry and it was naturally scattered on a fairly large area as a form of precaution.

As for the reported losses, that Hezbollah may or may not have suffered, this ambiguity comes from the type of report. Hezbollah has suffered losses in the past when convoys attempting to smuggle weapons were attacked, but it did not report on those incidents, and since there were no journalists in the area, there was no one else to report on the attacks. This time, there was a hardworking journalist who reported on the strike, and perhaps it was the Syrian opposition that reported on Hezbollah losses in order to step up their psychological warfare.

In any case, it appears both Hezbollah and the Syrians failed in their mission last night.

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