Hezbollah acquires advance Russian air-defense systems
L. Todd Wood
April 8, 2016
Israeli intelligence has confirmed to the German newspaper Bild, that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist army that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state, has acquired advanced Russian anti-aircraft weapons systems that were given by the Russian military to the Syrian armed forces, reports The Times of Israel. The SA-17 Buk missile battery is a game changer and will directly threaten Israeli aircraft operating in northern Israel and the region.
This development would be “interesting,” said Nadav Pollack, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, whose research focuses on Hezbollah. “It’s a big deal. Israel calls these weapons ‘tie-breakers,’ ” Pollack said, using a Hebrew phrase similar to the English “game-changer.” The Buk is a derivative of the system that shot down a civilian airliner over East Ukraine, killing all aboard, in 2014.
The SA-17 can target high to low altitude aircraft at medium range and is mobile, making it harder to find and destroy. Israel has destroyed multiple anti-aircraft systems before while being transferred to Hezbollah. Many analysts believe these were in fact SA-17s, highlighting the seriousness with which the Israeli Air Force views the weapon.
The private intelligence company, StratFor has also stated that Hezbollah is building fortified positions inside Syria to attack Israeli forces. We have written before here at Threat Assessment that Hezbollah has stated that after the Syrian civil war winds down, Hezbollah will focus their efforts again on destroying the Jewish state.