The Lebanon-based, Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah has assembled a new group named Unit 3800″ which is tasked with arming and training Shiite militants in Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region, according to a new report.
Hezbollah, emboldened and battle-hardened by it’s experience fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria’s bloody four-year-old civil war, has set it’s sights on other local conflict zones, the Israel Defense Magazine reported on Tuesday.
The revelation comes in the wake of the arrest and interrogation of two Hezbollah operatives caught by Yemeni forces training rebels in the north of that country several days ago.
The report tallies with statements by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz on Monday at the international Herzliya Conference, a high-level sounding board for regional security, political, and diplomatic leaders.
There is “a radical axis developing, led by Iran and Hezbollah,” in Syria, Gantz warned, stressing that “The Lebanese terror organization is up to its neck in everything that is going on in Syria. The global jihad is also gaining strength in that arena.”
The unit, previously known under the designations “1800″ and “2800,” in the past trained Palestinian terrorists in tactics including kidnappings, targeted killings, and intelligence gathering. It’s leadership, however, has revised and upgraded it’s brief and range of operations in the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring” of popular insurrections across the Mideast.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday underscored Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran, as Israel’s chief security concern.
“From our point of view, this is the number one threat,” he said in an address at the conference.
“Hezbollah, the jihad and terror in the Golan Heights – Iran is behind it as well as the attacks worldwide. Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in Gaza wouldn’t exist without Iranian support in the form of money, weapons and training,” he added.
Gantz noted that only “four or five states” have “more firepower than Hezbollah: the U.S., China, Russia, Israel, France, the UK.”
Over the last two years, IAF jets have reportedly interdicted and destroyed several major shipments of missiles being trucked from Syria to Lebanon, of a type Israeli security sources have termed “strategic game-changers.”
But despite the strikes, Israel, in Gantz’s words, will soon “encounter Hezbollah offensives, be it frontally or in the form of widespread combat within Lebanon.”
While “Hezbollah is currently deterred,” Gantz vowed, “They know what will happen if they enter into combat with us – it would send Lebanon back decades.”