Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah told his followers on Wednesday that his group has the ability to reengineer thousands of rockets as precision-guided weapons.
Marking 30 years since the assassination of Nasrallah’s predecessor, Abbas al-Musawi, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon in 1992, Nasrallah said “the Zionist entity is in the midst of a crisis and nearing its end.”
“We now possess the ability to transform our thousands of rockets into precision-guided missiles,” Nasrallah told his followers in comments carried by the Lebanese news site Naharnet. “We’ve been doing it for years.”
He claimed Hezbollah carried out the project with “experts from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to Reuters. Rockets are projectiles with propulsion systems, but no guidance system directs them toward a target after they are launched.
Hezbollah is believed to have over 150,000 missiles, but only a small number of them can be guided to specific sites. Israel fears in a future war that the terror group could use a barrage of precision missiles to attack sensitive facilities and overwhelm its air defense array.
Nasrallah also claimed the Iran-backed terror group has begun manufacturing its own drones. The group has flown dozens of small drones into Israel in recent years, apparently for surveillance purposes. A security source said last month that at least some of the drones Hezbollah used were ordinary, commercially available devices.
“We have been producing drones in Lebanon for a long time, and whoever wants to buy them, submit an order,” he said.
In his Wednesday speech, Nasrallah vowed to continue the fight against Israel and support the Palestinian cause.
“Resisting the occupation is the one thing that has preserved the Lebanese identity, alongside jihad, and it will remain that way,” he said.
“We will confront the enemy to defend Lebanon and support Palestine,” he said. “There are those who believe that Israel is connected to the future of the region and thus seek to normalize relations with it, but the resistance groups, including Hezbollah, believe the Zionist entity to be temporary and in decline.”
He addressed the 1982 Lebanon war, during which Israeli forces invaded southern Lebanon, eventually creating a security buffer zone north of the Litani River.
“The 1982 invasion posed a historic threat to Lebanon, [but] we managed to stand up to the threat that sought to steal our identity,” he said.
Addressing alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria, Nasrallah said: “The Israeli enemy is trying to prevent quality weapons from reaching Lebanon through attacks in Syria,” and indicated the interventions were unsuccessful.
“We encourage the Israelis to leave Palestine and we’re ready to pay for their travel tickets,” he said. “There is a decline in the Israelis’ will to fight and in their confidence in their army amid an increase in their desire to emigrate.”
“I’m not underestimating Israel, seeing as it still possesses a lot of strong elements, but it is in decline,” he added. “The Israelis know that going to war would be difficult and costly.”
Earlier this month, Nasrallah said Israel was not serious about actually attacking Iran, addressing military drills held by the IDF as preparations for a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear program.
“Iran is a strong regional state and any war with it will blow up the entire region,” he said.
During that speech he claimed that Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles were spread all around Lebanon so that Israel would need to launch a full-scale war in order to destroy them.
He also said he opposes sharing offshore gas with Israel and does not really care about negotiations between Beirut and Jerusalem over determining the countries’ exclusive economic zones. Israel and Lebanon have been negotiating over offshore oil reserves through US intermediaries.
Lebanese politicians hope that commercially viable hydrocarbon resources off Lebanon’s coast could help lift the debt-ridden country out of an unprecedented financial crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the planet’s worst in modern times.
Lebanon has sunk deep into an economic and financial crisis that started in late 2019, a culmination of decades of corruption and mismanagement by the political class.
Israel has accused Hezbollah in the past of setting up factories in Lebanon to develop precision-guided missiles and vowed to thwart its efforts.
A 2019 drone attack on a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut that was attributed to Israel reportedly targeted the terror group’s precision missile project.
In 2018, then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the existence of what he said were three sites in Beirut that were being used by the Iran-backed terror group to hide underground precision missile production facilities. In 2019, the Israeli military said it had identified a facility in southern Lebanon being used by Hezbollah to convert and manufacture precision-guided missiles.