Iran heavily cuts funding to Hezbollah, report says

DPA:┬áJerusalem – Iran has cut its annual budget to Hezbollah by over 40 per cent, causing a crisis within the Lebanese Shiite guerilla organization, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday, quoting an Israeli intelligence assessment.

It said that Iran had in recent years provided Hezbollah with nearly 1 billion dollars in direct military aid, but had now been forced to cut back on its funding because of the impact of international sanctions.

The money is used by Hezbollah to buy weapons, train and pay its activists and maintain its military positions throughout southern Lebanon, it said.

The Israeli military said in a briefing in July, ahead of the anniversary of the 2006 second Lebanon war, that it estimated Hezbollah to have some 40,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles and about 20,000 guerrilla fighters throughout southern Lebanon. If Hezbollah were to attack and if a third Lebanon war were to break out along Israel’s northern border, the movement would be capable of firing as many as 700 missiles a day at Israel, including 100 long-range ones which can reach the greater Tel Aviv area, it said.

The July 12 – August 14, 2006 war broke out after Hezbollah snatched two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

During the 33 days of combat, Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 missiles at Israel, reaching the northern port city of Haifa, to which Israel responded with massive bombardements of southern Lebanon.

Some 1,200 Lebanese and 163 Israelis were killed.

The war ended with a United Nations ceasefire resolution that saw a larger UN force deploy in southern Lebanon and promised to combat weapons smuggling to Hezbollah.