Israel: Hezbollah storing rockets near schools, hospitals

Israel: Hezbollah storing rockets near schools, hospitals

Israel Wednesday published maps showing its database of targets in some 200 villages in southern Lebanon, in a rare move declassifying confidential intelligence information, dpa reported.

In a briefing to Israeli journalists along Israel's northern border, it showed where the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement was storing its rockets.

Israeli commanders used the village of el-Hiyyam, some 20 kilometres north of Israel's northern-most town of Kiryat Shmona, as an example, and showed videos and maps pointing at buildings they said Hezbollah had taken over as arms caches and as command centres.

About a dozen red dots were shown as weapons caches on the map, while blue signs showed that many of them were near civilian public buildings such as schools, hospitals and commercial centres.

According to the Israel Defence Forces, Hezbollah is estimated to have some 40,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles, and about 20,000 guerrilla fighters throughout southern Lebanon.

If Hezbollah were to attack Israel and another war were to break out along Israel's northern border, the movement would be capable of firing as many as 700 missiles at Israel a day, including 100 long-range ones which can reach the greater Tel Aviv area, Israel's Channel 10 television reported.

Israel published the data ahead of the anniversary of the 2006 second Lebanon war, in which it battled Hezbollah for 33 days following a cross-border raid in which fighters from the movement killed several Israeli soldiers and abducted two others, whose bodies were later returned to Israel in exchange for Lebanese prisoners jailed there.

The war ended August 14, 2006 with a United Nations ceasefire that saw a larger UN force deploy in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli military has sent a delegation to the UN headquarters in New York to present its intelligence on Hezbollah's weapons deployment to the international community. The material was also presented to the new UN commander in southern Lebanon, Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas.

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