How did the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah get its hands on American-made armored vehicles?
That’s the question now being investigated by the US State Department, after photographs from a recent military parade the Syrian city of Al-Kosair put on by the Iranian-backed terror organization revealed a number of American armored fighting vehicles.
A number of M113 armored personnel carriers were spotted at the Hezbollah parade, prompting US officials to question how the terror group acquired them. Perhaps most disconcerting for State Department officials now working with the Defense Department is the lack of any clear leads on the source of the US-manufactured weapons.
Speaking to the Washington Post, a State Department official shot down suggestions the APCs had been purchased or stolen from the Lebanese army.
“The Lebanese military has publicly stated that the M113s depicted online were never part of their equipment roster. Our initial assessment concurs: The M113s allegedly in Hezbollah’s possession in Syria are unlikely to have come from the Lebanese military. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Pentagon and in the Intelligence Community on to resolve this issue.”
The report by the Washington Post noted that Israel was, in the past, a recipient of M113 APCs, and that Israel had transferred several of the vehicles to its Lebanese ally during the 1980s, the South Lebanon Army.
Hezbollah may have taken the APCs following the collapse of the SLA after Israel’s retreat from southern Lebanon in 2000.