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IDF concerned Hezbollah may acquire chemical weapons (ISRAEL HAYOM) Lilach Shoval 03/18/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=3547 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Israel Defense Forces assessments indicate the terrorist organization may get its hands on chemical weapons and advanced anti-aircraft systems • Northern Command officer: We will have to formulate a new response to attacks using such weapons.

If Hezbollah acquires chemical weapons and advanced anti-aircraft systems, the Israel Defense Forces will have to recalibrate thier planned defenses to Hezbollah attacks, a senior Northern Command officer told Israel Hayom on Friday.

According to the officer, the IDF is concerned that more lethal and advanced weapons could be transferred from Syria to Hezbollah if the Syrian leadership finds itself in a desperate situation.

A senior defense official said last month that the transfer of chemical weapons from Syria to Hezbollah would be tantamount to a declaration of war, and added that Israel would not accept such a move and would take action to prevent it.

In the past, when Syria agreed to transfer an initial batch of M-600 long-range missiles to Hezbollah, the IDF considered a military strike to prevent the missiles from reaching the organization. Although the IDF decided not to carry out such a strike at that time, and Hezbollah reportedly received hundreds of those missiles -- which are capable of reaching Tel Aviv -- the IDF is now determined not to allow Hezbollah to obtain advanced anti-aircraft systems that would jeopardize its aerial supremacy over Lebanon.

IDF commanders are also concerned about recent reports of Hezbollah fighters undergoing training in Syria and Iran to operate anti- aircraft batteries.

“Hezbollah, with Iran’s help, is trying to prepare its next surprises,” the officer said.

Defense officials are also on alert for attempts by Hezbollah to attack Israelis abroad, which according to the officer could also elicit a significant response by Israel. “We will not ignore such an attack simply because it occurred outside Israel. An attack of that kind will obligate us to respond harshly,” the officer said.

In addition to Hezbollah’s continued stockpiling of weapons, defense officials believe that Syria has acquired SS-N-26 Yakhont supersonic cruise missiles from Russia, which could threaten Israeli ships during a military confrontation.

There have been reports in the past of advanced weapons transfers to Hezbollah and defense officials have been warning of additional transfers for some time.

In July 2011, the London Times reported that Syria sent Hezbollah two Scud D missiles, each with the ability to deliver a payload of one metric ton. Hezbollah has reportedly received eight more Scuds since the beginning of 2011. Each Scud D has a range of 700 kilometers, enabling Hezbollah to target any point in Israel and Jordan, as well as some parts of Turkey.

Last month, the Israel Defense organization’s website claimed that an unknown number of RPG-30 missiles may have been acquired by Hezbollah. The advanced missiles are said to be capable of penetrating armor protection systems, including the IDF Armored Corp’s Windbreaker anti-tank missile shield system, which is installed on all new IDF Merkava Mark IV tanks.

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