Israel readies Iron Dome on Lebanon border as Hezbollah anticipates arms from Iran
HAIFA, Israel – One year after Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome defense system helped protect citizens from a rocket barrage launched from Gaza, the Jewish State has deployed the shield to the north, likely amid fears Lebanon-based Hezbollah could get an infusion of cash and weapons from Iran.
In an exclusive interview with FoxNews.com, Col. Yoni Saada Marom, commander of Israel’s Active Defense Air Wing, said that the military drills were not a direct reaction to recent events, but made clear that Hezbollah and other terror organizations close to Israel’s borders presented a potentially heightened threat.
“We saw that during Operation Protective Edge [2014 Gaza War] the Iron Dome faced one kind of challenge in the south,” he said. “Now, we are dealing with the challenges and scenarios that we think the enemies from the north will bring. One of the scenarios could be that, like Hamas, they will try and challenge us with a variety of threats simultaneously — which is a great challenge — but we are developing our concepts of operation.”
Some military analysts have expressed skepticism that the revolutionary defense shield will hold up under a sustained assault from a wide variety of more lethal missiles attacking from different points of the compass and maintain the approximately 90 percent interception rate claimed by the IDF during last year’s Gaza conflict.
“Now, we are dealing with the challenges and scenarios that we think the enemies from the north will bring.”
– Col. Yoni Saada Marom, IDF
Seemingly emboldened by the nuclear deal that would hand as much as $150 billion to its patron, Iran, Hezbollah has recently ratcheted up rhetoric against Israel and the U.S. Despite reportedly sustaining heavy losses in Syria, it remains arguably an even more potent threat to Israeli security than at any time since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Hezbollah already has at least 10 times the firepower and far more sophisticated technology than that available to Hamas in Gaza last summer. Its massive arsenal is directed at Israel from what is meant to be the de-militarized zone patrolled by UNIFIL, the United Nations force in Lebanon. Most of the missiles are supplied by Iran.
“Following the nuclear agreement, the Iranian president and other officials have reiterated that the country’s stances towards Hezbollah would not alter,” Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah stated on July 25 in a speech in Beirut. “We say it out loud and with pride, and we thank [Iran] for all the moral and financial support.”
“We feel pride when the U.S., which we consider the Great Satan before and after the nuclear deal, penalizes us because we are defending our country against the Takfiri [Muslim non-believers] and Israeli schemes,” Nasrallah added, according to Lebanon’s Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar network.
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