Hezbollah could blockade sea in future war (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 07/02/12)
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Israel is concerned that in a war with Hezbollah, the Lebanese
guerrilla group will try to blockade Israel by attacking civilian
Israel’s sea lines of communication span the length of the
Mediterranean Sea and around the Magreb region of North Africa, with
99 percent of all goods arriving in the country by sea, including
ammunition and military hardware.
Navy assessments are that Hezbollah will try to attack cargo ships
within a 30-kilometer radius of Israel, in an effort to get
commercial vessels to refuse to sail there during a war.
During the Second Lebanon War in July 2006, Hezbollah fired a missile
at the INS Hanit corvette, killing four sailors and causing extensive
damage. Another missile sunk a nearby cargo freighter.
“Hezbollah has already proven that it can fire missiles, so the
operational capability exists as does the readiness to act,” a senior
navy officer said.
The officer warned of the economic ramifications for Israel if
Hezbollah succeeded in stopping merchant ships from sailing to the
ports of Ashdod and Haifa.
“People have not internalized what it means that 99% of what we
import as a country comes by sea,” he said. “Ships stopping to sail
here would have economic and security ramifications and is therefore
the first and primary challenge we will need to confront.”
Hezbollah is believed to have a significant arsenal of Chinese-
developed anti-ship missiles such as the C-802, which is radar-guided
and was used to hit the Hanit in 2006.
In addition, the navy is concerned with Syria’s recent purchase of
the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile, which could be transferred to
Hezbollah. Syria already tested the Yakhont in recent maneuvers and
the missile is said to have a range of about 300 km.
“We are closely following what is happening in Syria and if a
response is needed, we will know how to respond,” the officer said.
One of the failures that led to the missile strike on the Hanit was
the navy’s decision to deactivate the vessel’s Barak missile defense
system due to an absence of intelligence that Hezbollah was in
possession of sophisticated anti-ship missiles.
The navy plans in the coming years to equip its ships with a new
missile defense system called Barak-8. The new missile will
reportedly feature a more advanced seeker and have a longer range,
perhaps a few dozen kilometers. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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