Lebanese Hezbollah has exchanged cross-border fireplace with its sworn enemy Israel every day because the struggle rages in Gaza, with the Iran-backed group deploying an enormous arsenal of weapons amassed over the previous a long time.
AFP appears to be like on the Shiite Muslim group’s firepower and the way it has expanded because it waged struggle with Israel in 2006.
– Armed and harmful –
Hezbollah is the one Lebanese faction to retain its weapons after the top of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil struggle, and is now thought of to have a extra highly effective arsenal of weapons than the nationwide military.
It’s also essentially the most highly effective group inside the ‘axis of resistance’ – an alliance of Tehran-backed teams primarily in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian territories.
The 2006 struggle between Israel and Hezbollah killed greater than 1,200 folks in Lebanon, principally civilians, and 160 folks, principally troopers, in Israel.
Since then, “Hezbollah has vigorously expanded the amount and high quality of its arsenal,” stated Dina Arakji of the consultancy Management Dangers.
“The group reportedly had round 15,000 missiles in 2006, whereas estimates lately counsel this quantity has elevated virtually tenfold,” she stated.
The group additionally has vital fight expertise after years of preventing alongside President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil struggle.
Skirmishes on the Lebanon-Israel border started on October 8, a day after Hamas assaults on Israel led to struggle, however thus far Hezbollah has largely restricted itself to attacking places close to the Israeli border.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly stated his group has superior weapons that may strike deep into Israeli territory.
– Fighters and Tunnels –
In 2021, Nasrallah claimed his group had some 100,000 “educated” and “armed” fighters.
However Arakji stated the quantity is “most likely too excessive.”
The group’s fighters embrace an elite power referred to as the Radwan Unit, which “might be described because the group’s particular forces,” Arakji added.
For the reason that finish of the battle in 2006, the Shiite Muslim group has had no seen navy presence on Lebanon’s southern border, which is patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers.
However Hezbollah has retained main affect in southern Lebanon, the place it has constructed shelters and tunnels.
Israel has accused Hezbollah of constructing cross-border tunnels and claims to have destroyed a number of.
The tunnel community “will possible be in depth,” Arakji stated, including that “there is no such thing as a indication… that Hezbollah has stopped constructing it.”
– Precision guided missiles –
In September 2018, Nasrallah stated his group had acquired “precision missiles” regardless of Israeli efforts to stop this.
Arakji stated precision-guided missiles might permit the group to “strike targets with the next stage of accuracy and decrease margins of error.”
In February 2022, Nasrallah stated that Hezbollah had “the power to transform our rockets into precision missiles.”
In August this 12 months, he stated the group would want solely “just a few very exact missiles” to destroy Israeli targets, together with “civilian and navy airports, air bases, energy stations” and the Dimona nuclear facility.
– Guided missiles –
Hezbollah has used guided missiles extensively within the newest cross-border preventing, particularly towards Israeli tanks.
In August, the group introduced that that they had a weapon known as “God’s Revenge”, designed to fireside Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles.
In keeping with Hezbollah’s official media, the twin launcher is able to “precisely hitting and destroying targets concurrently.”
– Unguided missiles –
Hezbollah has unguided surface-to-surface missiles, which fashioned the majority of its arsenal in the course of the 2006 struggle.
Katyushas have been the group’s “weapon of alternative” in that battle, in response to a 2018 report from the Washington-based Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research (CSIS).
However the weapons additionally embrace Iranian Fajr-5 missiles that may attain a variety of 75 kilometers (46 miles), and Raad missiles that may attain an identical vary, the CSIS stated.
– Anti-aircraft –
Hezbollah has surface-to-air missiles, with the group claiming to have downed Israeli drones within the newest spherical of preventing.
A Hezbollah video launched in 2019 confirmed shoulder-mounted surface-to-air weapons because the group threatened to focus on Israeli unmanned aerial autos.
– Anti-ship –
Hezbollah first used anti-ship weapons in 2006 towards an Israeli naval vessel, the INS Hanit, stationed off Beirut.
In 2019, the group revealed video footage of Chinese language-made C-802 and C-704 anti-ship missiles.
In 2022, earlier than Lebanon and Israel reached a US-brokered maritime border deal, Hezbollah threatened to assault Israeli offshore gasoline platforms.
In keeping with the CSIS report, Hezbollah additionally possesses Russian Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, in addition to Iranian variants of the C-802 medium-range anti-ship cruise missiles.
– Drones –
Hezbollah has unmanned aerial autos, together with surveillance and assault drones, a few of which have been placed on show in a show of navy may in Might.
The group says it has used armed drones within the newest border clashes.