Al-Khiam rockets
Al-Khiam rocketsIsrael news photo: IDF

The IDF has taken the unusual step of publicizing some of its “targets banks” in southern Lebanon – buildings in southern Lebanese villages that Hizbullah has taken over for the storage and launching of long-range rockets.

It has long been known that Hizbullah uses quiet villages nestled in the hills of southern Lebanon to stockpile weapons and rockets. The IDF has now announced openly that it knows precisely which buildings to target if and when the Third Lebanon War breaks out.

The first war fought by Israel in Lebanese territory took place in the summer of 1982, and was known as Operation Peace for Galilee. 675 Israeli soldiers were killed, as were nearly 10,000 Syrian and PLO fighters. The Second Lebanon War, in the summer of 2006, between Israel and Hizbullah, cost Israel 119 military casualties and 42 civilian dead, with an estimated 500-600 enemy dead.

Col. Ronen Marli, commander of the Western Brigade in the Galilee Formation, briefed military reporters on the general direction of Israel’s plans. “From my standpoint, it [war] could be tomorrow, or next year. I have to be ready at all times.”

He told them that the Lebanese village of Al-Khiam, just a few kilometers from Kiryat Shmonah, Metulah, and other Israeli towns, currently has some 200 rockets, each with a range of between 20 and 40 kilometers.

Col. Marli showed unprecedented pictures of the houses of Al-Khiam, with the buildings that are “untouchable,” such as hospitals, schools and the like, colored blue. The red-colored structures are used to house and launch rockets; they will be Israel's targets in the next war.

The IDF says it has a list of thousands of such targets.

It is estimated that Hizbullah has the capacity to fire 700 rockets a day at Israel. In comparison, Hizbullah fired some 4,000 rockets during the 34-day 2006 war, for an average of fewer than 120 a day.

Col. Marli says that Israel knows the identity of the Iranian commander stationed in Beirut who is responsible for the Iranian command over Hizbullah. His name is Hussein Mahadawi, and he is in charge of preparatory training for the Hizbullah terrorists.