Saturday, August 05, 2006

TheStar.com - Hezbollah equipped like the `Syrian or Iranian army'

TheStar.com - Hezbollah equipped like the `Syrian or Iranian army'

JERUSALEM—Hezbollah's sophisticated anti-tank missiles are perhaps its deadliest weapon in the fighting in Lebanon, with their ability to pierce Israel's most advanced tanks.

Experts say this is further evidence that Israel is facing a well-equipped army in this war, not a ragtag militia.

Hezbollah has fired Russian-made Metis-M anti-tank missiles and owns European-made Milan missiles, the army confirmed yesterday.

In the last two days alone, these missiles have killed seven soldiers and damaged three Israeli-made Merkava tanks, vaunted as symbols of Israel's might, the army said. Israeli media say most of the 44 soldiers killed in four weeks of fighting were hit by anti-tank missiles.

"They (Hezbollah guerrillas) have some of the most advanced anti-tank missiles in the world," said Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior military intelligence officer who retired earlier this summer.

"This is not a militia, it's an infantry brigade with all the support units," Kuperwasser said.

Israel contends Hezbollah gets almost all of its weaponry from Syria and by extension Iran, including its anti-tank missiles.

That's why cutting off the supply chain is essential and why fighting Hezbollah after it has spent six years building up its arsenal is proving so painful to Israel, officials say.

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