By JOANNA PARASZCZUK, JPOST
Beirut newspaper ‘Al-Joumhouria’ cites ‘security study’ saying terror group has upgraded underground structures.
Hezbollah has upgraded its network of tunnels in southern Lebanon to secure itself against airstrikes in a future war with Israel, according to a report by a Lebanese newspaper on Monday.
Al-Joumhouria said its source was a diplomatic report issued by an unspecified European embassy, which it said contained information from “a number of Western security agencies.”
Al-Joumhouria claimed the report said that “Iranian experts” had supervised the digging of a new tunnel network in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley region, which borders with Syria, following the Second Lebanon War.
After that war in 2006, IDF soldiers uncovered an extensive network of Hezbollah tunnels in southern Lebanon.
The fortified underground structures enabled terrorists to exit their bunkers, fire mortars at Israeli troops and return to the bunkers without being seen.
The report said Hezbollah had dug a new network of tunnels in an area south of the Litani River. The tunnels are equipped with state-of-the-art ventilation, lighting and communication networks and are built to resist land and air operations, according to the report.
The report also claimed that the tunnels contain underground stores of weapons and ammunitions, which have been stashed at various locations.
According to Al-Joumhouria, the tunnels are equipped with dormitories, medical facilities, kitchens, toilets, water and heating systems that allow dozens of terrorists to live underground for weeks at a time.
The report added that Hezbollah had purchased large tracts of land years ago in the Hermel region near the Syrian border, and had drilled tunnels though the mountains of the Beqaa region, reaching deep into Syrian territory.
Al-Joumhouria said these tunnels and warehouses had “strategic importance” because they are located far from military confrontations and would allow Hezbollah to smuggle ammunition and rockets through Syrian territory in the event of a war with Israel.
The newspaper quoted sources saying Israel’s next war with Lebanon could be a “tunnel war,” and said Israel was monitoring the tunnel drilling process using sophisticated technology developed after the Second Lebanon War.
The report said Israel had conducted maneuvers in tunnels similar to Hezbollah’s, which could help the IDF excel in a future conflict.
Al-Joumhouria also quoted an unnamed Hezbollah source as saying the “Israeli enemy” would be “surprised” in the event of a war, saying that the response would be “entirely and radically different” from the Second Lebanon War.
The newspaper quoted the source as saying that it was “no longer an issue of tunnels, but about of missiles,” which were hidden all over the country.