The equipment was then transported to the storage facilities of the Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon, and to the Hezbollah. Security experts estimate that some of the equipment will be smuggled to Palestinian organizations in the territories.
Iranian assistance via Hezbollah to Palestinian organizations that attack Israel, is increasing. In addition to extensive efforts to smuggle equipment, weapons and ammunition, the Hezbollah has also started training Palestinian guerrillas in Hezbollah bases in the Beka’a Valley in Lebanon.
Intelligence also shows that the Hezbollah had direct links with Palestinian cells operating in the territories – in addition to the ties it cultivates with Fatah. One center for such links is the city of Nablus in the West Bank.
It is thought that the guerrilla infrastructure the Hezbollah is setting up in the territories is intended to be deployed to disrupt any future cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The large airlift is believed to be a response to the urgent need of the Revolutionary Guards and the Hezbollah for additional equipment in Lebanon.
The previous route used by the Iranians to airlift equipment to the Hezbollah in Lebanon crossed over Turkey. However, following a request by Ankara that Iranian flights over Turkey en route to Damascus declare the nature of their cargo, the flights were stopped. The current airlift is believed to have crossed over Saudi Arabian and Jordanian airspace on its way to Syria.
The pace of weapons transfers to the Hezbollah in Lebanon was shown in the past to be dictated by security developments in Lebanon. Following the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from south Lebanon in May last year, Iran sought to replenish the military stores of the Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards stationed in Lebanon
According to Israeli estimates, the Hezbollah has some 7,000 Katyusha rockets.
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