An explosion in Lebanon, 10 kilometres north of the Israeli border, is further proof of Hizbollah’s efforts to rearm its forces against Israel, despite United Nations Resolution 1701 specifically forbidding this.
A local Hizbollah leader, his son and three other Lebanese civilians were killed in the explosion in a village to the east of Tyre on Monday evening. Hizbollah and Lebanese sources tried to claim that the explosion had occurred during an attempt to defuse an old Israeli bomb, but aerial reconnaissance footage released by the IDF shows Hizbollah members removing a missile from the building, proving Israeli claims that the explosion occurred in a secret Hizbollah weapons store.
UN Resolution 1701 mandated that the Lebanese Army take responsibility for security in South Lebanon and that UNIFIL observe that Hizbollah does not rebuild its military capability in the south.
According to a senior IDF officer, "UNIFIL has improved its operations and is giving Hizbollah a hard time but it still can’t conduct searches in the 160 Shia villages in the south where Hizbollah has a free rein."
While most of Hizbollah's missiles were wiped out during the Second Lebanon War, over the past three years, Syria and Iran have resupplied the organisation with tens of thousands of rockets, including hundreds of medium range missiles capable of reaching the Tel Aviv area.
The Israeli defence establishment believes that Iran is interested in maintaining Hizbollah's capability to launch missile strikes on Israel as a threat-by-proxy, in case Israel decides to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear installations.
This is the second such explosion in three months. Together with the capture of a German ship this week, carrying ammunition and weapons from Iran to Syria and Hizbollah, it is proof of an ongoing intelligence and military battle between Israel and other western countries, and Iran and its allies Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas.
Both organisations are using the same tactics, stationing missiles aimed at Israeli towns within built-up civilian areas in preparation for a possible attack on Israel at Iran's orders. According to a senior intelligence source, Iran was angry that both Hamas and Hizbollah allowed themselves to be drawn into fighting with Israel in Operation Cast Lead and the Second Lebanon War in a way which exposed their plans and gave Israel a pretext to destroy their weapon caches.
Iranian officers have since tightened their control, especially on Hizbollah, and it is expected that any future attacks will only take place on their orders.