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Thursday, April 14, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Cable cites Israeli intel: Hizbullah preparing
for 60-day missile war

LONDON — Israel has determined that the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah is preparing for a missile war.


An Israeli intelligence assessment concluded that Hizbullah aimed to fire tens of thousands of missiles and rockets in any war with the Jewish state. The assessment determined that Israel's financial capital, Tel Aviv, would be the prime target.

"Hizbullah was preparing for a long conflict with Israel in which it hopes to launch a massive number of rockets at Israel per day," a senior Israeli military intelligence officer said.

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The Israeli intelligence assessment was outlined in U.S. government documents drafted over the last two years, Middle East Newsline reported. A U.S. embassy cable dated November 2009 cited a Mossad official as saying that Hizbullah could launch up to 600 missiles per day in any war with Israel. Hizbullah was also expected to fire 100 missiles per day toward Tel Aviv.

The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv cable, released by WikiLeaks, said Hizbullah could sustain a missile war against Israel for at least 60 days. The cable, which quoted the Mossad official during strategic talks with the United States, said Hizbullah could fire between 24,000 and 36,000 missiles and rockets toward Israel, 6,000 of them toward Tel Aviv.

"The IDF and Israel Defense Intelligence argued that Hizbullah's ultimate goal during any future conflict is to launch a massive number of missiles and rockets daily into Israeli territory, including those that can reach the Tel Aviv area," the U.S. diplomatic cable said.

In 2006, Hizbullah fired 4,500 rockets toward Israel during their 34-day war. At the time, Hizbullah fired rockets with a range of no more than 100 kilometers, far from Tel Aviv and central Israel.

"Hizbullah was preparing for a long conflict with Israel in which it hopes to launch a massive number of rockets at Israel per day," an Israeli officer at the strategic dialogue was quoted as saying. "In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Tel Aviv was left untouched. Hizbullah will try to change the equation during the next round and disrupt everyday life in Tel Aviv."

The Israeli intelligence assessment said Hizbullah was receiving missiles from Iran and Syria. The assessment said Hizbullah has deployed more than 20,000 rockets, hundreds of 220mm and 302mm rockets as well as the long-range Iranian-origin Fajr rocket.

The cable also cited Hizbullah's deployment of a huge anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile arsenal. They included the Russian-origin SA-7 and SA-14 surface-to-air missiles as well as the QW-1 anti-aircraft artillery. Hizbullah also contained the C-802 anti-ship missile as well as the Ababil unmanned aerial vehicle.

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