TEL AVIV – The alleged Israeli drone attack on a Hezbollah-dominated suburb of Beirut caused serious damage to advanced industrial equipment for mixing fuel for long-range missiles, setting Hezbollah’s missile program back by at least a year, according to reports.
Overnight between Saturday and Sunday, two drones flew into the Dahiyeh neighborhood of south Beirut. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said one, carrying explosives, was brought down by “youths throwing stones” while the other exploded in the air, sparking a fire and causing damage to an adjacent building belonging to Hezbollah.
Several analysts have asserted that the drones were likely Iranian, not Israeli.
Despite Hezbollah’s claims that the damaged structure was an office building, the British Times newspaper cited western intelligence officials as saying that the building contained a high-end “industrial planetary mixer” for mixing high-grade solid propellant to turn standard projectiles into precision missiles.
In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly last September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hezbollah was upgrading its missile system. After Netanyahu provided geographic coordinates for the missile production factories, the terror group was said to have moved them elsewhere.
The images published in the Times show that the planetary mixer’s control box was completely destroyed. According to Channel 13 news, without this component, long-range solid fuel missiles cannot be produced, effectively delaying Hezbollah’s project for at least a year.
On Monday, Nasrallah issued a warning from his Beirut hideout that Israel had better “get ready” for a reprisal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response warned Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah to “calm down.”
“I heard what Nasrallah said. I suggest he calm down. He knows well that Israel knows how to defend itself and to pay back its enemies,” Netanyahu said during a ceremony in Jerusalem.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the Israeli strikes were tantamount “to a declaration of war which allows us to resort to our right to defending [sic] our sovereignty,” the Reuters news agency reported.