Story Highlights

  • Week-long IDF drill scheduled to begin on Sunday
  • Hezbollah official: Fighters instructed to be 'completely ready to confront Israeli maneuvers'
  • Israel believes Hezbollah has cache of more than 40,000 rockets

Hezbollah has mobilized thousands of its militants in southern Lebanon ahead of a major Israel Defense Forces drill planned for next week, AFP reported on Friday.

"The Hezbollah fighters have [been instructed] to be completely ready to confront Israeli maneuvers on Sunday," Hezbollah official Nabil Qaouk told the French agency. "Thousands of our fighters will not go to the polls [for municipal elections Sunday] and will be prepared from today."

Qaouk declared that Hezbollah would not hesitate to respond should Israel launch a military offensive on Lebanon. "In the event of any new attack on Lebanon, the Israelis will not find anywhere in Palestine to hide," he told AFP.

Israel believes that Hezbollah has since built its cache to more than 40,000 rockets since the Second Lebanon War, and that the militant group has developed the capability to reach the center of the country with its weapons.

The IDF drill, scheduled to begin on Sunday, will last for a week.

Meanwhile, a Lebanese military official said Friday that troops had found a rocket in an area close to the border with Israel, but that the weapon was not ready for launching.
 
The official said the rocket was found Friday near the town of Hasbaya, about 15 kilometers north of the Israeli border.
 
The official did not identify the rocket type. He says troops were searching the area looking for more rockets. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.