Accessibility links

Breaking News

Israel Claims Vast Power And Going 'All-Out' In Future War With Hezbollah

A F-35 fighter jet is seen after landing in the Israeli Nevatim Air force base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beersheva, December 12, 2016

The head of Israel's air force claimed on Wednesday that Israel's military capabilities have vastly increased compared with 2006, and now the Jewish state will have "unimaginable" military power to bear down on Hezbollah.

Major General Amir Eshel speaking at a security conference near Tel Aviv said; "What the air force was able to do quantitatively in the... Lebanon war over the course of 34 days [in 2006] we can do today in 48-60 hours."

Israeli troops poured into southern Lebanon after the Shiite militia seized two soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid on July 12, 2006 in a war that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets from neighboring Lebanon during the conflict, with one million Israelis in the north of the country coming under heavy fire for more than a month.

Since then Israel has built up a sophisticated defense system, including the Iron Dome short-range interceptor which has successfully brought down rockets fired from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt's lawless Sinai region and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli politicians and generals have spoken often of an intention to hit hard in Lebanon if war breaks out, in an apparent bid to deter Hezbollah. Eshel said in 2014 that another conflict could see Israeli attacks 15 times more devastating for Lebanon than in 2006.

Speaking about occasional Israeli air attacks on suspected Iranian arms shipments for Hezbollah coming through Syria, Eshel said that these have a deterrent impact on the Lebanese Shiite group. Hezbollah has also been bogged down in Syria for the lat six years, throwing in thousands of fighters into the quagmire, trying to defend Bashar al-Assad.

Eshel cautioned residents in southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, to leave their homes if a new conflict erupts, saying the Iranian-backed group uses civilian homes as "launching bases for missiles and rockets".

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters