IDF map of Hezbollah positions revealed as fabrication

Army forced to admit graphic touted as ‘declassified,’ shown to foreign diplomats as real intelligence, was an ‘illustration’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

View of Lebanon as seen from the Israeli side of the border, November 10, 2016. (Doron Horowitz/FLASH90)
View of Lebanon as seen from the Israeli side of the border, November 10, 2016. (Doron Horowitz/FLASH90)

A map of southern Lebanon released this week by the Israeli military that ostensibly showed Hezbollah positions, infrastructure and armaments along a section of the Israeli border was a fabrication, the army admitted Thursday.

The map, tweeted by the army Tuesday, appeared to feature over 200 towns and villages, which the IDF said the organization had turned into its operations bases, along with over 10,000 potential targets for Israeli strikes in the event of a new war with the terror group.

“This is a war crime,” the army asserted in its tweet.

A caption on the photo claimed that it had been “declassified,” in what was construed as an IDF attempt to build a case for future military action, and a warning to the terror group itself, demonstrating Israel’s superior intelligence-gathering capabilities.

But on Thursday, based on an analysis by Twitter user JudgeDan48, it emerged that the map had in fact been prepared by the IDF spokesperson’s desk. The ostensible demarcations of Hezbollah positions were in fact patterns of dots, positioned on the map of southern Lebanon.

An IDF spokesperson admitted the graphic was an “illustration” that had been misrepresented as a piece of declassified intelligence.

“The illustration reflects how Hezbollah has positioned its terrorist infrastructure within the civilian arena,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

According to a Channel 2 report Tuesday, the illustrative map has been shown to practically every foreign diplomat visiting Israel, to demonstrate that while Hezbollah may be heavily embroiled in the Syrian civil war, it continues to arm for conflict with Israel, while embedding itself ever deeper in the civilian population near the border.

Hezbollah has accused Israel of attacking its installations with airstrikes twice in the last two weeks. While Israel hasn’t confirmed its involvement, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that the military has been working to keep chemical weapons out of Hezbollah’s hands.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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