Officials said Hizbullah has set up weapons caches in at least 200 communities in southern Lebanon. They said Hizbullah was storing rockets and missiles in thousands of apartment buildings in an effort to evade Israeli air strikes.
“We will have to deal aggressively with thousands of Hizbullah bases which threaten the state of Israel and mainly our interior,” Israel Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said.
In an address to the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies on Jan. 29, Eshel said the Hizbullah bases were also located in civilian areas of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley near the border with Syria. The commander said the missiles were located in the middle floors of apartment buildings.
“Above and below live civilians whom we have nothing against — a sort of human shield,” Eshel said. “And that is where the war will be. That is where we will have to fight in order to stop it and win. Whoever stays in these bases will simply be hit and will risk their lives. And whoever goes out will live.”
Officials said the bases and caches were meant to accommodate the huge increase in Hizbullah’s missile and rocket arsenal. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon asserted that Hizbullah has now reached 100,000 missiles and rockets, a 40 percent rise from the arsenal reported in 2013.
Eshel said the air force and the rest of the military have vastly improved their ability to identify and target Hizbullah caches, including underground facilities. He contrasted this with Israel’s failure to stop Hizbullah from firing 4,500 projectiles into the Jewish state in the 33-day war in 2006.
“Our ability today to attack targets on a large scale and with high precision is about 15 times greater than what we did in the  war,” Eshel said.
Israel Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told another conference that Israel was threatened by 170,000 missiles and rockets, including those by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other proxies of Iran. Kochavi said many of the missiles could strike major Israeli cities.
“For the first time the enemy now has the ability to hit Israeli cities hard,” Kochavi said. “They [missiles] are much more precise and a lot more lethal. The state of Israel is surrounded 360 degrees with active enemies.
The conventional threats have not disappeared.”