‘Hezbollah will use civilians as human shield in case of war with Israel’
The Israeli-Lebanese border has grown increasingly tense over the past year. Although the general assessment in Israel defense Forces is that the border will remain calm for the foreseeable future, commanders are nonetheless preparing themselves to the possibility that Hezbollah will launch a ground offensive against Israel, well aware that the Shi’ite group has increased its firepower tenfold since the last war with Israel in 2006 and now possesses about 100,000 rockets and missiles.
According to Israeli military officials Hezbollah has recently moved most of its military infrastructure into the Shiite villages of southern Lebanon in order to use the civilians residents there as a human shield in case another war breaks with Israel.
Jalaa Marey (AFP)”Israeli soldiers carry an injured comrade after an anti-tank missile hit an army vehicle in an occupied area on the border with Lebanon, on January 28, 2015″
Maps and aerial photography provided this week to The New York Times by the officials show that “the civilians are living in a military compound,” they said.
Israel has warned that that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed as a result of Hezbollah’s methods.
“We will hit Hezbollah hard, while making every effort to limit civilian casualties as much as we can,” a senior Israeli military official at military headquarters in Tel Aviv told the Times, but “we do not intend to stand by helplessly in the face of rocket attacks.”
The commander of the IDF’s Galilee Formation, Brig.-General Moni Katz told Israel Army Radio in April that, “[Hezbollah] is certainly planning ground operations.” He warned that Hezbollah would receive an even harsher blow than it did during the Second Lebanon war, which took place in 2006 and involved heavy losses on both sides.
“When it [Hezbollah] decides to construct an operational infrastructure throughout nearly all of the villages in the south, I think it understands the risk it is taking,” Katz said. “It’s hard to envision the homes in these villages, which are so close to the borderline, remaining standing after the next war,” he said.
Hezbollah has sheltered in villages to some extent for many years. But Israel says the group has increasingly moved into built-up areas and out of the open ground where much of the 2006 fighting took place.
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