Hizbullah has 80,000 rockets in its anti-Israeli arsenal, twice the number previously estimated, President Shimon Peres told the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai. The number is approximately three times the amount of missiles and rockets that the terrorist organization possessed before the Second Lebanon War, three years ago.
Then, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the conclusion of the war that the government succeeded in making sure that Hizbullah would remain too weak to attack Israeli again.
President Peres told the Kuwaiti newspaper, "Hizbullah is working for its own interests and will always find a pretext to continue its policy against Israel, even if the IDF withdraws from Sheba Farms and the Lebanese Rajar village."
He warned that Lebanon faces a colossal disaster if it continues to allow Hizbullah to become the dominant military power in the country, especially in southern Lebanon, from where it attacked northern Israel with more than 1,000 missiles in the five-week war.
The Kadima-led government agreed to end the war with a United Nations resolution calling on U.N. troops in Lebanon to make sure that the terrorist organization would remain unarmed. However, officers for the U.N. Interim Forces (UNIFIL) said at the outset that they could not and would not carry out the mandate.
President Peres noted that Lebanon “has become the Iran of the region” although it “used to have an ambition to become the Switzerland of the Orient.”
He also reiterated Israel’s denial of any knowledge of the car bomb that killed Hizbullah’s mastermind terrorist, Imad Mughinyeh, in Damascus 18 months ago.
"He was the head of special operations, and no one knows who killed him,” the President commented. “There is no evidence that a certain side carried out the assassination.”
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh dismissed the Peres claim about Hizbullah’s arsenal as “lies". He told the Beirut Daily Star, “I don’t know how he counted these rockets. Let them [Israel] give us a list showing who the source is and how they identify these rockets. [Peres] imagines too much.”
Salloukh called the Israeli President, who recently celebrated his 86th birthday, “an aging political leader.”