Israeli intelligence official have confirmed to the German newspaper Bild, that Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah has in its possession Russian anti-aircraft weapons systems that were given to the al-Assad’s Syrian army by the Russian military. The Russian SA-17 Buk missile battery is nothing to scoff at and it poses a real threat to Israeli aircraft operating in northern Israel and the surround region.
This anti-aircraft system has the ability to target high and low altitude aircraft at medium range and because its mobile, it has the advantage of being difficult to find and destroy. The Buk is in the same family of Russian anti-aircraft systems that shot down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 killing everyone aboard.
Washington Institute for Near East Studies, Nadav Pollack, whose research focuses on Hezbollah said,
“It’s a big deal. Israel calls these weapons ‘tie-breakers.'”
[Pollack used the Hebrew phrase of ‘tie-breaker’ (שובר שיוויון), which is similar to the English equivalency of “game changer”]. This ‘tie-breaker’ has been part of Israeli analysts’ speculation that the SA-17 is the same system that Israel has been steadily destroying whilst being transferred to Hezbollah; a continuous preemptive strike by Israel that is indicative of the level of seriousness on how much the Israeli Air Force views the capability of this weapon.
A threat assessment done by a private intelligence company, StratFor, noted that Hezbollah is ‘building fortified positions inside Syria to attack Israeli forces.’ This in conjunction with the numerous threats Hezbollah has issued to the Jewish state like threatening to ‘nuclear’ on Israel by blowing up ammonia tanks in Haifa killing thousands and promising it will give Israel ‘the biggest war ever’.
Will Hezbollah continue to reap the benefits of Russian-made weapon systems or will Israel put the kibosh on it with increased offensive measures to seek and destroy them? Sound off in the comments below!