Jerusalem – A day after his appearance at the Israeli Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, important details of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s testimony have been released. Barak told a Knesset committee that Hezbollah has augmented its missile force by 50 percent through shipments from Iran and Syria. In his briefing to the committee on Monday, Barak said the shipments from Iran were moving through Syria’s naval port at Latakia.
“Hezbollah today has more medium- and long-range rockets than it had before the start of the war,” a Barak aide quoted the minister’s briefing to the Knesset committee. “It has also obtained a considerable number of anti-tank rockets.”
The Lebanese army itself has been facilitating weapons shipments to Hezbollah from Syria. The Lebanese army, meant to receive about $250 million in U.S. military aid in 2007, was protecting convoys that moved missiles and other military assets to Hezbollah bases in the Bekaa Valley and southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah has amassed 20,000 missiles and rockets, a greater arsenal than that on the eve of the war with Israel in July 2006, including long- and medium-range rockets, short-range Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles.
“Today, we heard a briefing at the committee that not only has the missile shipments to Hezbollah not been reduced, but it has increased by 50 percent,” Knesset member Silvan Shalom, the former foreign minister of Israel, told the Israeli media.
Hezbollah is also placing missiles and rockets in newly constructed bunkers and facilities north of the Litani River. Other missiles were being deployed in the Jezzine area in southern Lebanon.
India Mulls Israeli Missile Venture
The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that India was examining a joint venture for missile production with Israel.
The Indian Defense Ministry said India and Israel have been discussing the production of a long-range anti-aircraft missile. The ministry said the proposed project would be administered by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.
“The government of India pursues bilateral cooperation with Israel in many fields, keeping in mind our national interests,” the ministry said. “Cooperation in the field of defense is one of the many dimensions of bilateral cooperation.”
The ministry said Indian defense cooperation with Israel would not come at the expense of New Dehli’s relations with Muslim countries. Pro-Muslim members of India’s parliament have expressed opposition to Indian defense cooperation with the Jewish state.
For Oil In Algae
The Middle East Newsline has also confirmed that an Israeli company, Seambiotic, has employed algae as a biofuel that could also reduce pollution from coal power plants.
Executives said the method channels carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning smokestacks through pools of skeletonema algae, which in turn converts to fuel.
The concept has been tested in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, which contains a coal-burning power plant. Executives said Seambiotic’s prototype algae farm in Ashkelon, a $2 million investment, could lead to the company’s first large-scale biofuel reactor in 2008 in cooperation with companies from either India, Italy, Singapore or the United States. Algae was said to be capable of manufacturing 30 times more oil than crops currently used for biofuel production.
“As we have already developed and produced algae through the process, our main goal is to market the installation and development of our unique algae growing system around the world,” Noam Menczel, director of investor relations at Seambiotic, said.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007