RealNews

Hezbollah Deploys Katyushas As Deterrence Against Israel

Following weeks of reports from South Lebanon about Hezbollah preparing for a possible Israeli assault under cover of the Iraq war, the Lebanese newspaper, A Safir, quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the Shi’ite organization had deployed Katyusha rocket launchers in the area as a deterrence against an Israeli attack. The newspaper, which is known for its close ties to the Shi’ite organization, said the deployment had come in response to Israel’s beefing up of forces along the border. The initial linkage between the expected war in Iraq and a possible escalation on the northern border came when senior Israeli officials warned that Hezbollah might use the American campaign against Baghdad to open a front against Israel. As a result of leaks and public announcements, including statements made by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the fear of a front being opened in the North moved over the border to Hezbollah and Lebanon. This eventually led to senior Hezbollah officials, headed by the organization’s secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, making statements that Hezbollah did not intend to exploit the war in Iraq to move against Israel. Two weeks ago, Nasrallah went so far as to say that Hezbollah was not “a border patrol” for Israel, justifying the organization’s lack of action against Israel in recent months. The statements match current Israeli Military Intelligence assessments that the events of last April, when Hezbollah opened an offensive against the Mount Dov area to coincide with Operation Defensive Shield, won’t recur. Full Story

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