Hizbullah Militants Training in Iran for Next War with Israel

[Christian Science Monitor] Nicholas Blanford - In southern Lebanon, Hizbullah has devised new battle plans that include cross-border raids into Israel and has mounted a sweeping recruitment and training drive, even marshaling non-Shiites and former Israeli-allied militiamen into new reservist units. "The holy fighters are completely focused on the next war, even ignoring families and friends. They are just waiting for the next war," says Jawad, a Hizbullah fighter. Hizbullah continues to recruit and train new combatants at a furious pace. Many recruits are sent to Iran for 45-day advanced training sessions, according to Hizbullah fighters. Jawad says he recently returned from Iran, his second trip in a year, where he was taught how to fire antitank missiles. "The holy fighters are leaving universities, shops, places of work to go and train," he says. New tactics are being taught, including how to "seize and hold" positions. "Next time, we will be on the offensive and it will be a totally different kind of war," said one local commander. Jawad says that the next war will be "fought more in Israel than in Lebanon." Hizbullah fighters presently are deployed along a new front line above the Litani River, north of the area patrolled by UNIFIL. In the past 18 months, Hizbullah has purchased land from local Druze and Christians, constructed an entire Shiite-populated village, and turned the area into sealed-off military zones. "There are armed and uniformed Hizbullah men crawling all over the hills. We often hear gunfire and explosions from their training," says one local resident.

2008-04-15 01:00:00

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