IDF intelligence Chief Maj.-General Amos Yadlin gave the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense committee Tuesday a harsh picture of the situation in southern Lebanon since the deployment of UNIFIL in the region after the war last summer.
Yadlin highlighted two disturbing trends: the massive rearmament efforts of Hizballah, especially with short and medium range rockets, identical to the ones launched into Israel during the war; and the infiltration of al Qaeda operatives.
According to Yadlin, rockets and other weapons are still making their way to the hands of Hizballah, despite the deployment of the international UNIFIL force in the area and on the border between Lebanon and Syria. In addition, Yadlin said that Iran and Syria continue to finance Hizballah operations in Lebanon and provide them with weapons and other material assistance.
Yadlin also noted the infiltration of al Qaeda operatives from Pakistan and Iraq into Lebanon in order to carry out attacks against Western interests, including the UNIFIL force deployed in Lebanon. Yadlin said that between a few dozen and a few hundred operatives arrived in Lebanon recently to try to destabilize the area.
Despite the grim reports from the military, UNIFIL recently announced that it had discovered and destroyed two underground bunkers belonging to Hizballah that included a Katyusha rocket launcher and 10 rockets ready for launch. One cache was discovered by a UNIFIL patrol and was hidden under a camouflage net. Another bunker revealed a large number of Katyusha rockets, which were all confiscated and destroyed by the international force.