IDF aerial photo marking alleged Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon, released on July 7, 2010
IDF aerial photo marking alleged Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon, released on July 7, 2010 Photo by IDF
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Lebanese construction workers stumbled upon a massive explosives stockpile near a village in the country's south, the state-run National News Agency reported on Saturday, with local media claiming that the explosives were found by UN forces working in cooperation with the Lebanese army.

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War - 34-day war in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah - banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the UN-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.


According to the report, a bulldozer stumbled upon "strange objects" during the construction of a new road near the Kfar Shouba in southern Lebanon, unearthing 250kg of dynamite and 50kg of C-4.

The explosives, which were estimated to date back to Israel's 2006 war with Hezbollah, were reportedly seized by the Lebanese military and transferred to a nearby military base. According to the Voice of Lebanon radio station, Lebanese troops had sealed the area following the discovery.

Earlier this year, in a rare move declassifying confidential intelligence information, Israel published maps showing arms caches in some 160 southern Lebanon villages
The Israel Defense Forces told reporters that Hezbollah has some 40,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles, and a force of 20,000 guerrilla fighters based throughout southern Lebanon.

Many of the arms caches are stored in private homes, which in the event of war could turn into IDF military targets. Unlike the Second Lebanon War - in which most of the fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah militants took place in thickly forested rural areas - the past four years have seen the organization concentrate most of its fighting capacity in built-up areas.

In Beirut, one Hezbollah official told reporters he would not comment on the information provided by the IDF before seeing it himself.

Hezbollah's operation has been limited considerably by the presence of UNIFIL troops deployed in southern Lebanon. In recent days, however, residents of southern Shi'ite villages sympathetic to Hezbollah have blocked the UN monitors from entering their communities.

Virtually every Shi'ite village in southern Lebanon functions as a kind of military post, including control centers, underground supply tunnels and storage of arms caches.

Most villages host cells of between 30 and 200 Hezbollah fighters trained in field operations and rocket launching. IDF planners believe that in the event of war, Hezbollah will fire between 600 and 800 rockets a day at Israel.