Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group is an army with ‘infantry, rockets, tanks, elite forces,’ building tunnels, military bases for future war
Hezbollah has more than 10,000 fighters in southern Syria ready to confront Israel, a commander for the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group has said.
“Hezbollah has over 10,000 fighters deployed in southern Syria. Hezbollah is an army of infantry, rockets, tanks, elite forces,” the Hezbollah officialtold the Middle East Eye website this week, amid tensions surrounding the shooting down by the Israeli Air Force on Tuesday of an Iranian-built drone launched by the group as it attempted to cross into airspace.
The commander said the fighters were based in areas surrounding the Golan Heights and that tunnels and military bases were being built for a possible confrontation with Israel
“We are operating as we do in south Lebanon, but of course in a veiled manner,” he said.
Speaking of the truce in southern Syria, under the auspices of Russia and the United Nations, the commander said that the “de-escalation plan is better for us. We are working with more freedom, there are no more bombings.”
The commander said that the next war with Israel may start from Syria but “what really matters is where will it end, will it be in Netanya, Haifa or Kiryat Shmona?”
On Tuesday, Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down the drone launched by Hezbollah and scrambled fighter jets to the area where the device was set to cross into Israeli airspace, but ultimately did not need to use them as the interceptor missile was able to destroy the target.
The Patriot interceptor missile was launched from a military installation in northern Israel, near the city of Safed.
After the drone breached the “Bravo line” that marks the Syrian border and entered the demilitarized zone — but not Israeli airspace — the IDF “decided to intercept it,” army spokesperson Lt. Col. Yonatan Conricus said Tuesday.
In a statement, the IDF said it “will not allow any infiltration or approach toward the Golan Heights area by terrorist figures from Iranian forces, Hezbollah, Shiite militias or Islamic Jihad.”
According to Conricus, the air force monitored the unmanned aerial vehicle from its take-off at Damascus airport to the demilitarized zone that separates the Israeli and Syrian Golan Heights.
“We monitor everything that flies toward the State of Israel and follow it closely for any potential threat,” he said.
Conricus said Military Intelligence was able to identify the drone as Iranian-built and Hezbollah-launched based on the army’s arrays of sensors in the area and its years of experience monitoring the group.
The spokesperson said the drone appeared to be performing reconnaissance mission in the area. It was not immediately clear if the drone was armed.
Shortly after the incident, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that any country or terrorist group that threatens Israel will “pay a dear price, very dear.”
The debris from the drone landed near the Syrian city of Quneitra so the IDF was not able to recover it, he said.
The Patriot missile system was designed by the United States to intercept incoming missiles and aircraft. It has been deployed in Israel since the 1990s, but first saw anti-aircraft combat during the 2014 Gaza war, when a battery shot down an unmanned Hamas aircraft over the port of Ashdod.
Israel has long been concerned by its nemesis Iran’s ongoing efforts to establish itself in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights.
Jerusalem fears that the Iranian presence in that area would serve as a springboard for terrorist groups to attack Israel in the future.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been negotiating with his counterparts in the United States and Russia to establish an Iran-free area around surrounding the border, but to no avail yet.
Earlier this month, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers participated in the largest military drill since 1998, simulating war with Hezbollah for 10 days.
Soldiers run to a helicopter during an exercise in northern Israel simulating a war with the Hezbollah terrorist group in September 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
The exercise was named “Or HaDagan” after Meir Dagan, a former Mossad chief and IDF general who died last year.
Israel last fought a full-scare war with Hezbollah in 2006’s Second Lebanon War, and tensions have remained high even as the northern border has remained relatively quiet since.
This exercise was touted as a chance to practice failures or military shortcomings exposed during the war.
Led by Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles and a fighting force of some 50,000 soldiers, including reservists.
While Israeli military officers often discuss a future conflict with the terrorist group as a matter of “when, not if,” the assessment of the IDF is that Hezbollah is not currently interested in renewed warfare with Israel at present, due to its active involvement in the Syrian civil war, which have caused it significant strategic problems.
Israel’s National Labor Court this week ruled that a Bedouin woman, divorced and living in a polygamous family (with her husband and his second wife), is entitled to National Insurance Institute income support benefits in addition to her ex-husband’s income – even though she continues to live near his home with her mother-in-law and their children, Globes reported.
Salami al-Zayadneh, a Bedouin woman, sought to receive income support benefit as she would be entitled to if she lived apart from her husband whom she had divorced. Except that she never left the family compound – which was noted by both the National Insurance Institute and the Regional Labor Court in rejecting her claim, ruling that there was no change in her way of life, and that she continued to maintain a common household with her “ex” husband.
A billboard in Toulouse commemorating the victims of Mohammed Merah’s gun attack on the Ozar Hatorah school in March 2012. Photo: File.
Chaotic scenes broke out on Wednesday at the trial in France of the brother of an Islamist extremist who carried out a spree of terrorist attacks around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012, including a gun assault on a Jewish school that resulted in the brutal murders of a rabbi along with three young children.
Shouts and jeers erupted from the gallery at the court in Paris during the testimony of Zoulika Aziri — the mother of 35-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who could face a life sentence if he is found guilty of having aided his brother, Mohammed, in carrying out three separate terror attacks between March 11-19, 2012. Mohammed Merah was shot and killed by French police on March 22 of that year at the culmination of a 30-hour siege after he was tracked down.
The evidence is mounting that Iran is not only violating the spirit of the no-nukes deal, but that it is also violating its letter. The prologue to the deal explicitly states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” This reaffirmation has no sunset provision: it is supposed to be forever.
Yet German officials have concluded that Iran has not given up on its goal to produce nuclear weapons that can be mounted on rockets. According to Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper:
“Despite the nuclear agreement [reached with world powers in July 2015], Iran has not given up its illegal activities in Germany.
An outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar is quickly becoming an epidemic, giving a grim look into how this dreaded disease, once known as the Black Death, killed off one-third of the entire world population.
Madagascar, a poor country in the Indian Ocean, suffers annual outbreaks of the plague with an estimated 400 cases every year. This current outbreak threatens to be much worse than the usual annual outbreak. In the past two months, at least 74 people died from the disease and over 800 more have been infected.
St. Catherine’s Monastery is a popular destination for Christian religious tourism, South Sinai, Egypt. Posted July 14, 2017.
CAIRO — Pope Francis has confirmed that Egypt will be included as an official Roman Catholic Church pilgrimage destination next year, sparking hope that the country’s tourism industry can be revived. The first pilgrims should begin arriving in Egypt in May, according to Tourism Minister Yahya Rashed.
The pope endorsed the designation Oct. 4 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism then announced Oct. 5 that the path of the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph) in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago will be part of the Vatican pilgrimage program for 2018.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump initiated an important change in US policy toward Iran.
No, in his speech decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord it struck with his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump didn’t announce a new strategy for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, or stemming its hegemonic rise in the Middle East, or limiting its ability to sponsor terrorism.
Trump’s move was not operational. It was directional.
One month after Islamic militants bombed two Egyptian churches during Palm Sunday and killed nearly 50 people in April 2017. On Friday, May 26, several SUVs stopped two buses transporting dozens of Christians to visit and pray at the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, in the desert south of Cairo. According to initial reports, about ten Islamic militants, heavily armed and dressed in military fatigues, “demanded that the passengers recite the Muslim profession of faith”—which is tantamount to converting to Islam—and when they refused, the jihadis opened fire on them, killing 29 Christians, at least ten of which were young children (including two girls aged 2 and 4). Mohsen Morkous—an American citizen described as “a simple man” whom “everyone loved”—his two sons, and his two grandsons were among those killed.
Even now, polls suggest that about 40 percent of Americans regard Donald Trump as a suitable president. In essence, this preference has little to do with job performance and must be explained by the nature of the wider society from which this president was drawn.
For the most part, Americans have forsaken every once-residual aspect of an authentic intellectual life. This near-total abandonment of a national “life of the mind” was not fashioned in a cultural vacuum. Rather, it was fostered by an unrelenting barrage of crude and voyeuristic entertainments, most of which now center on sex, sadism, torture, murder and dreary profanity.
On Sunday, a delegation of young Israeli Arabs joined the battle against the apartheid lie and the BDS libels. Such a delegation—on behalf of Reservists on Duty, an organization which is already active on US campuses—is definitely a refreshing change, which sparks not only curious and sympathetic reactions but also threats and a smear campaign. One of the delegation members was forced to leave his home, and another member nearly quit following the pressure.
After weeks of Egyptian-sponsored pre-talks, and a very short “cabinet meeting” in Gaza, “formal reconciliation talks” are now being held between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (P.A. or Fatah) in Cairo under the direct auspices of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
For some Middle East-watchers, the talks are a form of progress. There are presently three functional governments between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and this is about getting rid of one of them. Progress here is that Israel is not the government they’re talking about getting rid of. Yet. This is about whether Hamas or Fatah will lead the Palestinians – whether to peace with Israel or to war with Israel is less important for them right now than simply who between them is top dog.