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Israel identifies Hizbullah missile factory

05 September 2019
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A still taken from the video released by Hizbullah on 2 September shows the moment the first missile exploded, seemingly just in front of the vehicle. This created smoke that obscured the vehicle by the time the second missile (circled) exploded. Source: Hizbullah

In the latest in a series of revelations about the covert activities of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hizbullah, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealed on 3 September the location of what it claimed is a missile production facility in Lebanon.

"We can now reveal that inside this Hizbullah facility is Iranian-supplied machinery used to manufacture precision-guided missiles with an accuracy of less than 10 m," it said. "Iran is trying to turn its proxy Hizbullah into the first terror group in the world with precision-guided missiles. We won't let them."

Located 7 km north-east-east of Nabi Chit in the eastern Beqaa Valley, this facility lies at the southern end of a larger Hizbullah military training zone and has been known to Western intelligence for several years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar announcement in September 2018 when he showed the United Nations General Assembly satellite imagery of three sites in southern Beirut that he claimed were missile production facilities. The claim was never verified.

More recently the IDF revealed details of what it said was an Iranian plan to carry out unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks from Syria. It released photographs taken by two men as they boarded an Iranian Mahan Air flight, saying they were Lebanese operatives on their way to Iran for UAV training. The IDF said an airstrike it carried out southeast of Damascus on 24 August thwarted the plan.

Hizbullah identified the two men as members of the group when it held their funerals on 26 August.

It then carried out a retaliatory attack on 1 September, releasing a video showing a Kornet missile being launched at an IDF vehicle near the Israeli settlement of Avivim. This, and a second missile that was apparently launched from a different position, were seen exploding close to the vehicle, which Hizbullah identified as a Wolf armoured personnel carrier.

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