The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published a front-page article on Aug. 31 by journalist Firas Al-Shoufi, titled “Israel Plans to Invade [Lebanon] from Jabal Al-Sheikh; Will the Resistance Fighters Penetrate the West Bank in the Next War?” In it, Al-Shoufi describes a tour he took in Hezbollah’s Al-Jabour camp, located in the Jabal Al-Rihan region north of the Litani River.
According to the report, Hezbollah’s late military chief, ‘Imad Mughniyah, who was killed in Damascus in 2008, turned this area into a training ground for Hezbollah following the 2006 war with Israel. The article also presents lengthy quotes from the commander of this camp, who states that Hezbollah is prepared for the next war with Israel and that, when it occurs, the enemy is likely to encounter many surprises. The commander reveals that, in a meeting last month between Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and the organization’s military chiefs, it was stated that Hezbollah knows all about the Israeli army’s deployment and preparations for war; there were also speculations that, in the next war, Hezbollah’s fighters may succeed in penetrating Israel and reaching the West Bank.
The commander mentions the extensive experience Hizbullah has gained in the Syria war, which, he says, was “like a big military [training] camp” for the organization, because its fighters used every type weapon and fought in every kind of terrain, including in built-up areas.
The following are translated excerpts from the article:
“A resistance commander underscored that Hezbollah is prepared for any new Israeli war against Lebanon. He stated that a war was surely coming, and exposed an Israeli plan to advance on Jabal Al-Sheikh [Mount Hermon] and the eastern sector of South [Lebanon], but [added that] the resistance was preparing surprises for the enemy behind every tree and under every rock. [The] resistance commander, [stationed] in Jabal Al-Rihan, described to his guests at the Al-Jabour Camp the extent of Hezbollah’s preparedness for the upcoming war against the Israeli enemy in South Lebanon, quoting a Hezbollah fighter, who said: ‘We made [so many] efforts in planting explosive charges and putting up ambushes in anticipation of the next war with Israel that it would have been easier to cover the [entire] area of South [Lebanon] with 10 centimeters of TNT … .’
“The commander is a man in his 50s with a greying beard. His calm and serious manner reflects his experience fighting against the [Israeli] army that occupied South Lebanon and against the terror organizations in Syria. Here in Jabal Rihan … the fingerprints of the martyred commander ‘Imad Mughniyah are still visible, since he is the one who planned the transformation of this area – in which the occupation army sustained humiliating losses—into a training camp, and supervised this [process] after the 2006 war …
“ ‘The war is imminent, and that is why we are preparing well,’ said the military commander. … For him, the Al-Jabour camp is not just a front-line buffer zone of strategic and geographical importance in the area north of the Litani [River]. It is [an emblem of] courage that produced hundreds of martyrs and is still training thousands of resistance fighters every year, who then leave for the front lines, each according to his expertise and role. This is the area where the Israeli army sustained humiliating losses that caused it to hasten its withdrawal, first from the [town of] Jezzine and its environs, and later from [all of] South Lebanon, under a barrage of high-quality [Hezbollah] operations …
Read the full report at MEMRI here.