'Hizbullah getting ready for new war'

The Jerusalem Post (Link) (November 8, 2009)

Fearing Israel will launch an assault on Hizbullah ahead of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Lebanese guerrilla group is getting ready for war, The Observer reported on Sunday.

Hizbullah has been "busy reinforcing fixed defense positions" North of the Litani River, and after losing many of its bunkers in the south during the Second Lebanon War, is preparing "a new strategy" to defend villages there, according to the British newspaper.

"Sure, we are rearming, we have even said that we have far more rockets and missiles than we did in 2006," a Hizbullah commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "We had to blow up or leave some of our bunkers and fighting positions, but we still have plenty of capabilities in the south. We expect the Israelis to come soon, if not this winter, then they will wait until spring, when the ground isn't too soft for their tanks."

The report comes less than a week after the Israel Navy seized a cargo ship loaded with hundreds of tons of weaponry sent to Hizbullah from Iran.

Andrew Exum, a military expert on Hizbullah at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, was quoted by the Observer as saying that Hizbullah no longer controls the border, due to the presence of UNIFIL.

"They appear to be hardening the villages for this next round of fighting, while pushing their fixed positions north, away from UNIFIL, to protect the approaches to Beirut and the Bekaa Valley," he said.