Text size

The Israel Air Force destroyed 59 intermediate and long-range missile launchers in the Hezbollah arsenal during the second day of the war in Lebanon, during a raid that lasted 34 minutes, according to research recently published by David Makovsky and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute of Near East Policy.

The success of the raid was the greatest Israel Defense Forces achievement during the war, and according to Israeli assessments, it prevented Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, from being able to carry out his threats and strike central Israel with missiles.

The air attack of 13 July struck the Zelzal and Fajr missiles in the Hezbollah arsenal, both made in Iran. The range of the Zelzal can endanger the Tel Aviv area from Lebanon.

Unprecedented achievement

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and senior IDF officers prided themselves for the success of this air raid.

Olmert described it as "an impressive, perhaps unprecedented, achievement," and his aides went as far as to compare it to the destruction of Arab air forces during the first day of fighting in the Six-Day War, in 1967.

However, to date, details of the operation remain unclear, and official sources in Israel avoid specifying the precise nature of the target and the results of the strike.

Israeli officers had said during the war that the "34 minute operation" was based on accurate information from Military Intelligence that enabled the pinpointing of the missile launchers.

The air force had trained for several years for such an operation, and the operational plans were presented on several occasions to former defense minister Shaul Mofaz.