Iran sets up underground rocket factories in Lebanon — report
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Iran sets up underground rocket factories in Lebanon — report

Hezbollah overseeing production, with help of advisers from Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Kuwaiti newspaper says

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

A Hezbollah fighter stands behind an empty rocket launcher, May 22, 2010. (AP/Hussein Malla)
A Hezbollah fighter stands behind an empty rocket launcher, May 22, 2010. (AP/Hussein Malla)

Iran has established rocket factories in Lebanon that are under the full control of the Hezbollah terror group, a top Iranian general told a Kuwaiti newspaper.

Citing one of the deputy heads of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the al-Jarida newspaper reported Monday that Iran in recent months has established factories for manufacturing both rockets and firearms in Lebanon.

The newspaper did not say which of IRGC chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari’s deputies made the assertion.

The report came just days after Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, a former brigadier general in the IRGC, said Hezbollah is now capable of producing rockets that can hit any part of Israel. Dehghan offered no details of the new capabilities.

The new factories, said to be located underground, have reportedly been in operation for the past three months.

Hezbollah parading its military equipment in Qusayr, Syria, November 2016. (Twitter)
Hezbollah parading its military equipment in Qusayr, Syria, November 2016. (Twitter)

Among their staff are advisers from the IRGC, as well as Lebanese experts trained at the Imam Hossein University in Tehran, a key training institution for IRGC personnel. Hundreds have reportedly been trained by the university in rocket manufacturing techniques.

The manufacturing sites are located some 50 meters (160 feet) underground, according to the report, and are protected by multiple layers of defenses from potential Israeli aerial bombardment. No facility produces rockets in their entirety; rather, each site produces separate parts that are then collected and assembled into complete rockets.

The Iranian general was quoted by al-Jarida as saying that the decision to produce rockets indigenously in Lebanon came after Israel bombed weapons factories in Sudan and supply routes for Iranian rockets via Syria.

The new factories would mark a dramatic upgrade in Hezbollah’s ability to acquire more, and more precise, rockets than ever before.

Rockets produced by the new facilities have already been used by Hezbollah in battles in Syria, the report said.

The development highlights the depth of Iran’s involvement in Syria and Lebanon. During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow last week, he reportedly presented Russian leaders with information acquired by Israel, according to which Iran is seeking to establish a naval base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, likely in the Latakia area.

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