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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Iranian Assistance to Hizbullah

Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
Special Dispatch-Iran/Lebanon
July 31, 2006
No. 1220

DISCLAIMER: The different points of views of MEMRI and its contributors are not supported nor do they reflect the views and beliefs of the Bosun Locker or any entity affiliated with the Bosun Locker.

Iranian Assistance to Hizbullah - Iran Revolutionary Guards Officer: Hizbullah Has Iran-Trained Diver, Naval Commando Units; We Have Constructed Command Rooms for Hizbullah; Iranian Martyrdom Forces Have Been Sent To Lebanon

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On July 29, 2006, the London Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published a detailed article on assistance extended to Hizbullah by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, as reported by a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards officer who had trained Hizbullah naval units. According to the officer, Hizbullah has a diver unit and a naval commando unit. He further claims that Revolutionary Guards officers assisted Hizbullah in the July 14, 2006 firing of a C802 missile at an Israeli Navy ship, and had also helped Hizbullah construct underground facilities - including command and control rooms - which are being operated by Revolutionary Guards officers along with Hizbullah fighters.

In addition, Iranian news agencies have published a number of reports about groups of Iranian volunteers sent to Lebanon to aid Hizbullah in its fight against Israel.

The following are excerpts from these reports on Iranian assistance to Hizbullah.

Revolutionary Guards Assistance to Hizbullah

The following are excerpts from the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report on aid extended to Hizbullah by Iran's Revolutionary Guards:(1)

"Hundreds of Hizbullah fighters currently confronting Israel's military array took part in special training courses at the Revolutionary Guards bases in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad and Ahvaz. According to a high-ranking [Revolutionary] Guards officer, who trained one of the Hizbullah naval units, Hizbullah has many surprises up its sleeve. Until now, there has been no direct confrontation between Hizbullah and the Israeli navy, [but] one of the Israeli navy's ships was attacked with C802 missiles with the help of Revolutionary Guards [fighters] stationed in Lebanon. Hizbullah has a divers' unit and a naval commando unit [equipped] with Chinese-made Ho-Dong speedboats, which are capable of dealing [serious] blows to the Israeli navy."

The Iranian officer added that "thanks to the presence of hundreds of Iranian engineers and technicians, as well as North Korean experts brought [into Lebanon] in the guise of [domestic] servants by Iranian diplomats and by the staff at the Iranian representations and offices in Lebanon, Hizbullah has managed to build a 25-kilometer underground [tunnel]. Each opening in this [tunnel] measures 12 to 18 square meters, and has a mobile floor and a semi-mobile ceiling. Each four openings are connected by a passage that allows fighters to pass easily [from one opening] to the other.

"The [Revolutionary] Guards has also built Hizbullah underground storerooms in the Beka' Valley, at a depth of no more than eight meters, which hold huge amounts of missiles and ammunition. In the Beka', there is [also] a central command room operated by four Revolutionary Guards officers and four Hizbullah [fighters]. Each sector has its [own] command and operations room.

"Hizbullah's missile unit includes some 200 technicians and experts trained in Iran. Hizbullah has three missile units, each supervised by a staff of 20."

2,500 Iranian Suicide Fighters Await Khamenei's Order

The following are reports recently published by Iranian news agencies regarding groups of Iranian volunteers sent to Lebanon to assist Hizbullah in its fight against Israel:

On July 25, 2006, the Iranian Farda news agency quoted a report by the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), stating that Hizbullah-Iran has recruited some 2,500 suicide fighters who are awaiting an order from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to set out to Lebanon.

Hizbullah-Iran spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli added that the Hizbullah-Iran Chairman Mohammad Baqr Kharrazi will "soon be stationed in Lebanon in order to support Hizbullah-Lebanon and to express solidarity with the resistance and with the oppressed Lebanese nation, and [also] in order to follow developments [more] closely...

"Some 2,500 people who are fully willing to carry out istishhad [martyrdom] operations have signed up through groups connected to Hizbullah-Iran, so that the list [of martyrs] is now ready, and they await an order from the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei]..."(2)

Enlisting Volunteers Online

On July 26, 2006, the Iranian news agency Alborz announced that volunteers could sign up online for the "Army of the Fighters of Muhammad." The report explained that the Army of the Fighters of Muhammad was recruiting fighters to be sent to Lebanon, and that those interested in signing up could also call a telephone number in Tehran (88938821). According to the report, the minimum age for enlisting is 16.

Two Groups of Martyrdom Fighters Sent To Lebanon

On July 18, 2006, the Alborz news agency reported that "two groups of Iranian martyrdom fighters, who have received guidance and training, have been sent to Lebanon in order to participate in the [war on] its fronts.

"Ali Mohammadi, spokesman of The World Islamic Organization's Headquarters for Commemorating the Shahids (martyrdom fighters), stated: 'These two groups, which include 27 people selected from among 55,000 who signed up, were sent to Lebanon in order to participate in the war front against the Zionist regime... These forces have undergone various forms of training... Their mission is to arrive in Lebanon by any means possible, and to carry out martyrdom operations in the event that Lebanon is occupied by the Zionist regime.'

"The sending of these troops, he noted, was on a completely volunteer basis... These people were sent to Lebanon privately, and they have no organizational connection with Hizbullah... It should be noted that these 27 people have mastery of English and Arabic. They are to remain in Lebanon until further notice...'"(3)

Mehr News Agency: "Two Teams [Have Been] Sent to Syria In Order to Reach The Regions Of Conflict In Lebanon"

According to another report, by the Mehr news agency, on the dispatching of two suicide fighter groups to Lebanon, spokesman Mohammadi said that "two teams, one with 18 people and the other with nine, traveled separately... to Syria, in order to reach the regions of conflict in Lebanon by any means possible..." Mohammadi noted that "all 27 [team members] have mastery of Arabic, and some of them can even speak English... We have no organizational connection with Hizbullah or any other group. These people set out with the aim of helping the Lebanese people, and they are acting independently..."(4)

(1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat(London), July 29, 2006, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report on aid
(2) Farda News Agency (Iran), July 25, 2006, They await an order from the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei
(3) Alborz News Agency (Iran), July 18, 2006, They are to remain in Lebanon until further notice...
(4) Mehr News Agency (Iran), July 17, 2006, as reported by the Iranian news portal These people set out with the aim of helping the Lebanese people
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