Israeli officials believe that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has amassed around 150,000 rockets, including a number of long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of striking Israeli cities from north to south.
The estimate represents a 50% increase in the group’s weapons stockpile since May, when a senior Israeli intelligence official put the number at 100,000 missiles.
Some experts say the revised figure suggests that Hezbollah is ramping up efforts to acquire weapons with the purpose to attack Israel, despite the organisation being deeply embedded in the Syrian civil war.
Hezbollah forces have been involved in fighting in Syria for over three and a half years, fighting on the side of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Thousands of the organisation’s fighters are thought to be on Syrian soil and hundreds, some say thousands, have been killed there – including at least one senior officer.
The organisation has simultaneously continued to amass short- and medium-range rockets from Syria while also increasing its cache of Iranian-made long-range missiles. Hezbollah has also established a fleet of unmanned combat drones, designed for more than simple intelligence gathering.
According to reports from the Times of Israel, the group is continuing its efforts to acquire SA-17 and SA-22 ground-to-air missiles as well as P-800 Oniks air-to-sea missiles. In light of the events in Syria and and the ongoing civil war, as well as the Israeli attacks on weapons convoys en-route to Hezbollah, the organisation has renewed its efforts to bring in more Iranian weapons.
In 2006, Hezbollah engaged in a three-week war with Israel, that saw thousands of rockets hit Israel’s north.
According to Israeli security officials, satellite imagery from earlier this year shows that Hezbollah has moved military positions and 100,000 rockets into villages in southern Lebanon. Israeli officials warn that this amounts to the organisation using Lebanese civilians as human shields.