Israel reports alarming growth in Hezbollah’s naval capabilities
Despite the economic and political burdens hindering Hezbollah, the growing strength of its naval assets is challenging Israel's supremacy at sea
By News Desk - July 02 2022

C-800 anti-ship missile displayed by Hezbollah alongside a photo of Imad Mughniyeh (Photo credit: Central Media)

The Israeli army censor has allowed the publication of a previously unreported maritime incursion by Hezbollah into Israel in 2016.

According to an article published by Walla News, an elite unit from Hezbollah’s naval assets crossed the Lebanese–Palestinian border at Naqoura, and its divers descended into the waters occupied by Israel.

The divers were tasked with testing Israel’s underwater sensor technology and monitoring the Israeli navy response time between identifying foreign elements and dealing with them.

The Israeli navy failed to counter the incursion in time.

Another incident followed later that year, when the Israeli army reported that Hezbollah took control of a buoy placed at border line 1, which Israel considers is the maritime border between the two countries.

Lebanon regards the buoys placed to mark line 1 as illegal, in violation of its sovereignty, and within Lebanon’s territorial waters.

The line falls at the heart of the ongoing maritime negotiations between the two countries, in which Lebanon claims line 23 while Israel claims more than 1,400 square kilometers between line 23 and line 1.

This difference triggered a series of tensions that were heightened by both the extraction of natural gas from Karish field, and the threats made by the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

This dispute sparked Israeli media interest in the offensive maritime capabilities of Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah has a variety of capabilities that allow them to reach the shores of Israel. We most likely estimate that they have small Iranian-made submarines for transporting fighters. They are trained in using advanced diving equipment and [have the ability] to carry out raids and seize naval targets, use explosive devices and lay mines,” the head of the research department at the Israeli Alma think tank said.

According to Walla News, Hezbollah has acquired the ability to strike static, stationary, and moving targets at sea. This capability, which can strike ships at the Karish and Qana prospect fields, has been echoed by Nasrallah since 2010.

Today, Hezbollah officially operates the Iranian variant of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile, and is rumored to have Russian made P-800 Oniks (Yakhont) supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles from Syrian Arab Army (SAA) stocks.

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