The Northern Arena and the Shiite Axis – Weekly Review of Events and Key Data (June 3-June 9)

Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal – assessment update:

We are updating our estimate of the number of rockets and precision missiles in Hezbollah’s hands. According to our assessment, Hezbollah possesses a few thousand rockets and precision missiles out of a total of 75,000 rockets and missiles. Hezbollah’s precision project is not limited to the Fateh-110 missile array; In our assessment, precise processes are also being carried out with other types of missiles, including various rockets.

In 2021, we estimated that Hezbollah had about 2,000 UAVs of all types (apart from thousands of drones). We estimate that Hezbollah currently maintains a permanent arsenal of about 2,500 UAVs of all types (this may be an underestimate).

It should be noted that weaponry transfers to Hezbollah via the Iranian corridor take place continuously. Furthermore, the Iranians have transformed the Syrian CERS Center into a crucial anchor in the armaments corridor, with the goal of researching and manufacturing sophisticated, extremely precise weaponry for Hezbollah. To this, we add that Hezbollah has the potential to produce its own weapons on Lebanese soil. It is quite possible that Hezbollah (with Iranian help) is renewing and preserving its weapons. Even if an all-out war with Israel is declared, the corridor’s operations and weapon manufacture will continue.

If an all-out war breaks out with Israel, the quantity of weapons Hezbollah has will enable it to launch an average of about 3,000 launches (of all weapons) into Israeli territory every day, for at least the first 10 days. Assuming that such a war would continue for up to two months, Hezbollah will be able to continue to manage a very intense launching economy into Israeli territory, with an average of at least 1,000 launches a day. This does not include the number of launches and firing at IDF forces maneuvering on Lebanese soil.

Against IDF ground maneuvers, Hezbollah will use mainly mortar shells, anti-tank missiles, drones and even some UAVs. It may also use heavy-weight short-range rockets against the maneuvering forces.

It can be presumed that not all Hezbollah launches into Israeli territory in an all-out war will succeed or be effective: some will be thwarted by the IDF before launching, some will fall in Lebanese territory or open areas in Israel, some will be unexploded ordnance, and some will be intercepted by air defense systems. However, since this is a very large volume of launches, statistically, the number of daily launches, which will be effective, will be very large compared to what we have seen so far from the northern arena or the Gaza Strip.

The Lebanese arena:

War data:

In Israel, the government evacuated 43 communities located up to five kilometers from the Lebanese border. A total of about 61,000 citizens. To them were added several thousand more who decided to evacuate independently.

It should be noted that some of the Israeli communities have not been fully evacuated and there is a civilian presence there (agriculture and industry).

The Israeli government has extended the evacuation period until the summer of 2024 (July/August 2024).

Hezbollah has caused the death of 8 Israeli civilians and one agricultural worker with foreign citizenship so far. A total of 9 civilians were killed.

Over the previous week, Hezbollah continued to carry out attacks against Israel, using rocket fire, anti-tank missiles and suicide UAVs. According to Hezbollah, on June 8 it used Falaq-2 rockets for the first time (see details below).

Prominent launching and shooting incidents against Israel:

(June 3) Hezbollah launched several rocket and high-trajectory attacks to various areas: Adir mountain, Shtula forest, and Adir mountain forest, which caused large fires in open areas.

Above: Fires in the city of Kiryat Shmona

(June 3) Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a UAV attack on a target on June 2 in the southern part of the community of Liman. In the incident, a UAV fell in a public park in the city of Nahariya. See the full analysis of the Incident.

(June 3) Hezbollah launched rockets at the city of Shlomi. The rocket strikes caused fires in nearby communities.

Above: Fires in the community of Betzet

(June 5) Hezbollah launched two suicide UAVs near Hurfeish village. According to Hezbollah, targeting a military target in retaliation for an IDF attack in Lebanon. One soldier was killed and nine others were wounded.

(June 6) Hezbollah launched a suicide UAV at a commercial center in Kiryat Shmona. Shops were damaged, there were no casualties.

(June 7) – A Hezbollah UAV managed to penetrate Israeli airspace to a depth of 35 kilometers inside Israel, the UAV fell and exploded in an open area near the village of Kfar Yehezkel.

(June 8) – According to Hezbollah’s announcement, in firing at Beit Hillel, it used Falaq-2 rockets for the first time (so far it claimed to have fired Falaq-1 rockets).

The Falaq 1 and Falaq 2 rockets are Iranian-developed unguided rockets manufactured by the Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). It is one of Iran’s main groups for the production of weapons, mainly missiles and rockets. It is subordinate to the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

The Falaq 1 is a rocket with a diameter of 240 mm, a range of 10 kilometers, a weight of 110 kg, a warhead of 50 kg. Based on Soviet BM24 rockets.

Falaq 2 has a diameter of 333 mm, a range of 10-11 kilometers, and a warhead of 90 kg (60 kg).

(June 9) An anti-aircraft missile was fired at an Israeli Air Force plane from region of the city of Tyre. The squad that launched the missile was attacked and eliminated.

Hezbollah casualties:

Over the past week, a statement was released reporting 7 Hezbollah military operative killed.

As of October 8, 2023, a total of 334 Hezbollah operatives have been killed. Most of the operatives killed live south of the Litani River (219 operatives killed, constituting 66% of all the operatives killed). Many Hezbollah operatives and their families live in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel. They operate in southern Lebanon as part of Hezbollah’s geographic units (Nasser/Aziz) and Hezbollah’s designated units (Radwan unit), while assimilating into the civilian population (human shield tactics).

According to Lebanese reports, since the beginning of the war, 47 operatives of other organizations in Lebanon have been killed, including Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Amal movement and the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Fajr).

Prominent airstrikes in Lebanon

(June 3) An airstrike in the area of a-Zariya in the Tyre region killed Ali Hussein Sabra, from the village of Al- Babliyeh, an electrical engineer by training and a senior operative in Hezbollah’s air defense system. Sabra was involved in building the Division’s force and was involved in developing and improving the Division’s capabilities. Sabra was eliminated as part of the effort to eliminate professional knowledge centers building and developing Hezbollah’s military power in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah – General:

(June 4) Hassan Nasrallah meet with the new Iranian foreign minister, Dr. Ali Bagri Kani, and his delegation in the presence of the Iranian ambassador to Beirut. The meeting included an overview of recent political and security developments in the region, particularly in Gaza and Lebanon.

Above: Nasrallah meets with the Iranian foreign minister.

(June 6) According to reports in Lebanon, plans are being made behind the scenes to organize a visit to Saudi Arabia by Hezbollah’s chief of the coordination and liaison section, Wafiq Safa, through the intermediary of a Golf state. At this stage, the purpose of the visit is unclear.

(June 8) Jihad al-Bina organized an agricultural products show in Ras al-Ein. The event included local agricultural commodities backed by Hezbollah, handicraft vendors, and other activities. Social gatherings and speeches by parliamentarians were also conducted. One of the primary responsibilities of Jihad al-Bina, which reports to the Executive Council, is to enhance Shiite agriculture. Jihad al-Binna’s primary responsibility is to renovate and develop infrastructure. Beyond its civilian responsibilities, Jihad al-Bina is responsible for developing Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, particularly the tunnel network in Lebanon.

Above: The agricultural show in Ras al-Ein

Lebanon – General:

(June 5) – The shooting incident at the American embassy in Beirut. Three masked gunmen approached on scooters and opened heavy fire at the embassy. One of the attackers was killed and another was wounded, while the third escaped. Later, the Lebanese army issued a statement revealing the details of the incident, announcing that the assailant, a Syrian national, had opened fire at the embassy, and military personnel deployed in the area responded to the sources of the fire and wounded him. Several reports linked the terrorists to ISIS.

(June 6) The Lebanese army received 18 tons of medicines, medical equipment and food donated by Jordan at Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut, in the presence of Jordanian Ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Hadid and a representative of the Lebanese army.

Above: The Jordanian aid

The Syrian arena:

(June 3) According to local accounts, an airstrike struck a warehouse compound in northern Syria, about 1.5 kilometers west of the town of Hayan and 10 kilometers north of Aleppo. The warehouse facility is located about 300 meters west of Route 214, which leads north from Aleppo to the Turkish border. The city of Aleppo and its surrounds, which also have a Syrian Shiite minority, serve as the northern geographical anchor for the formation of the Shiite axis in Syria. Syria’s Shiite minority works closely with the IRGC and Hezbollah. Some Shiite Syrians are members of Hezbollah-Syria, a group that serves as a proxy for Lebanese Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard. Many facilities for producing, developing, and storing weapons exist around Aleppo, some of which have already been targeted. According to multiple sources, the strike resulted in several casualties, including those from Syrian Hezbollah. Apparently among the deaths was Sa’id Abyar, an IRGC “advisor” whose field of occupation is unknown at this time.

Syria – General:

(June 4) – The new Iranian foreign minister arrived in Damascus for the first time and met with Syrian Foreign Minister Mekdad.

The Shiite Axis – General

The most recent attack on American bases in Iraq and Syria by Shiite militias, officially reported by US Central Command, took place on February 20. According to various reports, the attacks on the American bases stopped due to direct Iranian instructions to the Shiite militias, against the background of secret agreements between Iran and the United States.

Since then, according to a number of local indications, the Shiite militias have carried out several attacks against American bases in northeastern Syria. Although we believe that there were airstrikes, the US Central Command did not confirm them in a public publication as it did before February 20.

Since the beginning of the war, “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” has been a generic name for the Shiite militias operating in Iraq under the aegis of the IRGC. With the suspension of attacks against American targets in February 2024, there has been a significant increase in Islamic resistance’s claims of responsibility for attacks against Israel: in February 2024, the Islamic Resistance published 3 attacks against Israel, in March: 17 attacks, in April: 24 attacks, and in May: 48 attacks against Israel.

From November 2023 (the first claim of responsibility for an attack against Israel) to May 2024, according to the Islamic resistance’s claim of responsibility in Iraq, 107 attacks were carried out against Israel.

According to claims of responsibility, half (51%) of the attacks by the Islamic resistance were directed against targets located in southern Israel, 41% in the north and 8% in central Israel. It is important to emphasize that in the vast majority of the attacks there is no real indication of harm to Israel. This is apart from the attack they carried out on April 1, 2024, at the naval base in Eilat. Thus, in May 2024, out of 48 claims assuming responsibility, the IDF reported only 9 incidents in which suspicious aerial targets en route to Israel from the east were intercepted. Although the vast majority of the attacks fall short on their way, they are intended to occupy the IDF with another sector and serve the Iranian narrative of unifying the arenas against Israel.

Yemen – Houthi-land:

(June 6) After the IDF reported on June 3 that the Arrow system had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from the southern Red Sea, the Houthis claimed responsibility on June 6 for launching a “new” ballistic missile called “Palestine” at the crossing of a military target in Eilat. In fact, it is a well-known Iranian Khaybar missile (see our article on the subject).

The video shows the Houthis firing a Palestine ballistic missile at a military target in Eilat (according to them):

(June 6) The Houthis claim responsibility for the first time for a joint attack with the Islamic resistance in Iraq against two ships they claim were carrying military equipment en route to Haifa port, and another attack on a ship that violated the “ban” on entry to Haifa port in Israel. There is no further indication of these attacks beyond the claim of responsibility.

Since October 2023, there have been 172 Houthi attacks against Israel, the United States and other targets.

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Alma Research

Alma Research

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