Iran, Syria, and Hizballah Threaten Israel's North

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/ Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lenny Ben-David - U.S. Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told "Meet the Press" on July 7 that there are "more urgent" priorities facing the U.S. than dealing with Saddam Hussein. He singled out the terrorist training camps in Syria and Lebanon "where the next generation of terrorists are being prepared." For more than a year, Hizballah - with Syrian and Iranian blessings - has been launching limited but dangerous attacks against Israel's north, testing Israel's tolerance. President Bush warned in his speech on June 24 that "Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations." Since Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon two years ago, Hizballah has moved its frontline positions to within several hundred yards of Israel's border and its civilian communities. Syria has not permitted the dispatch of the Lebanese army to the southern regions controlled by Hizballah, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 425. Israeli intelligence sources warn that Hizballah has amassed 9,000 rockets and missiles, including new 70-kilometer missiles that put one million Israeli citizens within their range. Since January, Hizballah gunners have been firing anti-aircraft guns into the skies above northern Israel, raining shrapnel on Israeli communities. In March 2002, Palestinian gunmen under Hizballah command crossed into northern Israel and killed seven Israelis. During April's "Defensive Shield" operation, Hizballah fired 1,000 anti-tank missiles and 1,000 mortar shells at Israeli positions in northern Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians. U.S. intelligence officials reported in April that Iran's annual budget for Hizballah now exceeds $100 million. The Washington Post warned on June 30 that Hizballah is "increasingly teaming up with al Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations [including] coordination on explosives and tactics training, money laundering, weapons smuggling, and acquiring forged documents."

2002-07-22 00:00:00

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