VIDEO - According to Hizbullah officials, no senior organization leaders were killed in a massive IAF air strike on a southern Beirut target Wednesday night, which IDF officials said was aimed at Hizbullah’s top brass.
Late Wednesday, Israeli warplanes dropped a reported 20 tons of bombs on a bunker in south Beirut where senior Hizbullah leaders were thought to be, the military said.
In a message broadcast by Hizbullah on its al-Manar television station following the air strike, Hizbullah officials said: “The enemy is trying to cover its military and security failures by lies and inventing accomplishments. The building that was hit was a mosque that was under construction."
|Bunker attacked (Video: Reuters)|
IDF officials told Ynet that dozens of Air Force fighter jets participated in the massive air strike on the south Beirut target, acting on IDF intelligence.
Intelligence stating that Nasrallah was staying in the bunker was received Wednesday night, and numerous IDF jets were dispatched to the place shortly after. Following a brief discussion, IDF officials decided that the information was sufficiently credible to act upon and launch a massive bombardment on the area.
The al-Manar television channel reported that the planes blasted a building that was under construction in the Bourj al-Barajneh quarter where a Palestinian refugee camp is located. The network stated that the structure was located outside of Hizbullah's stronghold in town.
'Israeli intelligence infiltrated Hizbullah'
According to army officials, the building itself was completely destroyed and the IDF was checking the results of the strike – whether the senior Hizbullah officials Israel was targeting were actually at the scene. They stated that if the bunker is located tens of meters underground, there is a chance that whoever was staying there survived the attack. Additionally, a senior IDF officer said that Israeli intelligence had significantly infiltrated Hizbullah.
According to al-Manar, IDF jets fired seven missiles at the building, followed by loud explosions. The report said that IAF drones were circling over the area previous the attack and while it was carried out, in a bid to collect intelligence. No injuries were reported in the strike, although such a possibility exists. Women and children have already been evacuated from the area, and most of the quarter's inhabitants are currently men.
Hizbullah has a headquarters compound in Bourj al-Barajneh that is off limits to the Lebanese police and army, so security officials could not confirm the strike. Hizbullah media made no immediate mention of any attack. Israel has said that one of the objects of its offensive in Lebanon is to eliminate Hizbullah leaders.
The military said the attack occurred between 8 and 9 p.m. Reporters in Beirut said they heard a huge
explosion around 8:30 p.m.
Israel has said that one of the objects of its offensive in Lebanon is to eliminate Hizbullah leaders.
Earlier on Wednesday Hizbullah reported that its members thwarted an IDF attempt to land troops in Southern Lebanon. IAF warplanes struck bridges near Akkar during the evening.
Roee Nahmias and AP contributed to the report