Fri, Jul 09, 2010 - Page 6 News List

Israel military says aerial images show Hezbollah hiding weapons in villages

AFP , JERUSALEM

The Israeli military has published a series of aerial photographs of south Lebanon showing what it says are hundreds of Hezbollah weapons stores in towns and villages near the border.

Declassified Images and intelligence maps appear to show what the military says are dozens of bunkers and arms caches.

In one aerial photograph of Al-Khiam, several kilometers north of the Israeli border town of Metulla, a heavily marked up image shows 11 buildings in the middle of the village’s built-up area that the military says are being used as hiding places for weapons. Another four buildings are marked as bunkers and operational headquarters for the Shiite militant group.

Also marked on the Al-Khiam map posted on the army’s Web site are schools, hospitals and other public buildings some of which lie just a few hundred meters from the alleged weapons caches.

The army says the images demonstrate how, in the four years since Israel’s 34-day war with Lebanon, Hezbollah has transformed more than 100 villages near the border into military bases.

“These maps and the 3D clip illustrate how Hezbollah stores their weapons near schools, hospitals and residential buildings in the village of Al-Khiam,” an army statement said.

“They follow similar tactics in villages across southern Lebanon, essentially using the residents as human shields in gross violation of UN Resolution 1701,” it said, referring to the truce resolution that ended the 2006 war.

The army said the data appeared to show a shift in tactics.

“In the four years since then, Hezbollah has pursued a tactic of moving their weapons into civilian villages, essentially institutionalizing the tactic of using human shields on a large scale,” the military said.

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