Hezbollah armed strength

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Hezbollah has the armed strength of a medium sized army.[1] Hezbollah is the most powerful non-state actor in the world[2] and is stronger than the Lebanese Army.[3][4][5][6] The military strength of Hezbollah has grown substantially since 2006.[7][8]

Hezbollah's military strength is based largely on the quantity and quality of the rockets they possess, which they use against their primary antagonist, Israel. Hezbollah was estimated in 2016 by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz to possess 120-130,000 missiles, with thousands of them being long- and medium-range rockets. Hezbollah also has thousands of anti-tank missiles, and advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. The group does not have aircraft or tanks.[9]

In 2016, Hezbollah had 45,000 fighters, with 21,000 of them in regular service. These men are trained by and fight alongside Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.[10] Up to 8,000 Hezbollah soldiers have been deployed to Syria.[11] Hezbollah's guerrilla forces were reckoned in 2006 "to be amongst the most dedicated, motivated and highly trained" in the world.[12]

Armed strength[edit]

Hezbollah does not reveal its armed strength. Mustafa Alani, security director at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, estimated in 2006 that Hezbollah's armed wing comprises 1,000 full-time Hezbollah members, along with a further 6,000–10,000 volunteers.[13] According to the Iranian Fars News Agency, Hezbollah has up to 65,000 fighters.[14] It is often described as more militarily powerful than the Lebanese Army.[15][16][17] Israeli commander Gui Zur called Hezbollah "by far the greatest guerrilla group in the world".[18]


Small arms[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Browning Hi-Power Semi-automatic handgun Belgium
AKM Assault rifle USSR
Type 56 Assault rifle China Chinese AKM clone
M16 Assault rifle United States Used by Hezbollah's elite units
AKS-74U Carbine assault rifle USSR
Škorpion vz. 61 Submachine gun Czechoslovakia
PK machine gun General purpose machine gun USSR
Dragunov Sniper Rifle USSR
Steyr SSG 69 Sniper Rifle Austria
Steyr HS .50 Anti-material rifle Austria Iranian clone


Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
RPG-7 Rocket propelled grenade USSR
AT-3 Sagger Anti-tank Guided Weapon USSR
9M133 Kornet Anti-tank Guided Weapon Russia

Man-portable air-defense system[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
QW-1 Vanguard Man-portable air-defense system China Iranian clone
Hezbollah's rocket and missile force[19][20]
Rocket/missile (Hezbollah designation) Diameter (mm)[citation needed] Range (km) Warhead (kg) Number
Katyusha M-21OF 122 20 21 40,000
M-27 220 40 100 35,000
Fajr-5 (Khaibar-1) 333 75 90 50,000
Zelzal-2 610 100-400 600 ~500
Fateh-110 ~20,000
shehin-2 ≈13,500

The main arsenal of Hezbollah's rocket force consists of over 120,000 rockets,[21] including the 122mm M-21OF rockets which have a range of 25 km. Hezbollah is also believed to have fired Shahin I missile which was described as a Ra'ad 1 missile by Hezbollah's TV station and has a range of 13 km.[19] However, the vast majority of their rocket arsenal are made up of 122mm Katyusha rockets.[22]

Fajr rockets[edit]

Hezbollah also possesses longer range rockets, namely the Fajr-5 rocket which has a range of 45 km; the missile was fired into Israel in the 2006 conflict.[19] It was reported that in 2006 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) believed that Hezbollah had some 100 Fajr rockets.[23]

Fadjr rockets are normally fired on tank-mounted multiple launch systems. Before 2000, the rockets delivered to Hezbollah were believed to have come individually and to be fired from improvised missile launchers. The launching crew could fire the rockets remotely to avoid enemy's counter-battery fire. In early 2001, it became known that Hezbollah had deployed a belt of mobile multi-barreled rocket launchers and truck-mounted missiles along Israel’s northern border in preparation of a conflict with Israel.[24]

Zelzal-2 rockets[edit]

According to Iran and Israel,[25] Hezbollah possesses the more potent Zelzal-2 which has a claimed range of 200–400 km, while a more conservative assessment estimates the range at 100 km. The Iranian-manufactured missile could reach Tel Aviv from Lebanon. The missile can be fitted with a 600 kg high-explosive warhead and has a solid fuel system that allows it to be easily transported and prepared for firing. Although these are unguided missiles, they could cause serious damages if launched towards urban areas.

A report by Agence France Presse during the 2006 Lebanon War estimated a stockpile of 30 missiles of the Zelzal type, most of which are believed to have been destroyed by the IAF.[25][26] However, Hezbollah is known to build a greater weapons arsenal both quality and quantity-wise ever since the war.

Scud ballistic missiles[edit]

Israel said that Hezbollah has possession of Scud missiles that were provided to them by Syria. US officials believe Hezbollah to have possession of these missiles as well.[20] The reports were denied by Syria.[27]

Anti-ship missile[edit]

On 14 July 2006, Hezbollah forces fired a Raad anti-ship missile, at the Israeli corvette INS Hanit, killing four sailors and inflicting substantial damage. A second missile sunk a Cambodian vessel crewed by Egyptian sailors, although no deaths were reported.[24] The Israeli military believes that Iranian advisers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were present at the launch during the attack.[28] Iran has denied involvement in the incident.[29]

Unmanned aerial vehicle[edit]

Iran has supplied Hezbollah with Mohajer-4 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[24] These have flown successfully into Israeli airspace in November 2004 and April 2005.

Supply and training[edit]

According to the United States, Iran has provided weapons to Hezbollah as well as provided training and funding. In addition, Syria has permitted Iran to use Damascus as a transshipment point to supply Hezbollah.[30]

In another report, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has helped build Hezbollah's underground storerooms in the Bekaa Valley to hold huge amounts of missiles and ammunition. Hezbollah's missile force includes some 200 technicians and experts trained in Iran.[31] The Zelzal-2 rockets require expertise to aim and launch effectively, and Hezbollah may require direct support from Iranian Revolutionary Guards to operate the rockets.[24]

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

Map showing some of the Israeli localities attacked by rockets fired from Lebanese soil.
Main article: 2006 Lebanon War

During the 2006 Lebanon War Hezbollah fired about 3,699 rockets into Israel, killing 44 civilians and 118 soldiers.[32]

On August 6, 2006 (one week before the end of the conflict) Israeli officials believed that its operation destroyed the vast majority of Hezbollah's longer-range rockets and about a third of the shorter range rockets, such as Katyushas. The group did, however, still have many short-range rockets which are smaller and easier to hide or store underground, and can be set up and fired in a few minutes.[28][33]

On August 13, 2006, the day before the negotiated ceasefire was to come into effect, Hezbollah launched its fiercest barrage, firing 250 rockets into Israel.


  1. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/st/c/prod/eng/2016/07/lebanon2/
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060822074836/http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jwit/jwit060726_1_n.shtml
  3. ^ "UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war". Haaretz. October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ Frykberg, Mel (August 29, 2008). "Mideast Powers, Proxies and Paymasters Bluster and Rearm". Middle East Times. Retrieved May 31, 2011. And if there is one thing that ideologically and diametrically opposed Hezbollah and Israel agree on, it is Hezbollah's growing military strength. 
  5. ^ Barnard, Anne (May 20, 2013). "Hezbollah's Role in Syria War Shakes the Lebanese". New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013. Hezbollah, stronger than the Lebanese Army, has the power to drag the country into war without a government decision, as in 2006, when it set off the war by capturing two Israeli soldiers 
  6. ^ Morris, Loveday (June 12, 2013). "For Lebanon's Sunnis, growing rage at Hezbollah over role in Syria". Washington Post. Retrieved June 20, 2013. ... Hezbollah, which has a fighting force generally considered more powerful than the Lebanese army. 
  7. ^ "UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war". Haaretz. October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/st/c/prod/eng/2016/07/lebanon2/
  9. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/st/c/prod/eng/2016/07/lebanon2/
  10. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060822074836/http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jwit/jwit060726_1_n.shtml
  11. ^ http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-foreign-legion-leads-battle-in-syrias-north-1455672481
  12. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20060822074836/http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jwit/jwit060726_1_n.shtml
  13. ^ "Analysis: Hezbollah a force to be reckoned with". Iiss.org. Agence France Presse. July 18, 2006. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ "پیشنهاد عربستان برای تشکیل نیروی مقابله با حزبالله". 
  15. ^ Morris, Loveday; Haidamous, Suzan (June 12, 2013). "For Lebanon's Sunnis, growing rage at Hezbollah over role in Syria". Washington Post. 
  16. ^ "Hezbollah Upsets The Balance in Lebanon". VOA. June 14, 2013. 
  17. ^ Barnard, Anne (May 20, 2013). "Hezbollah's Role in Syria War Shakes the Lebanese". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Richard Augustus Norton – Hizbollah. Page 140
  19. ^ a b c "Hezbollah's rocket force". BBC. 2006-07-18. 
  20. ^ a b Harel, Amos (2010-04-13). "Syria is shipping Scud missiles to Hezbollah". Haaretz. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  21. ^ http://israelstreet.org/?p=4612 1/2012
  22. ^ McGregor, Andrew. "The Jamestown Foundation: Hezbollah's Rocket Strategy". Jamestown.org. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  23. ^ "Hezbollah's missile arsenal and rocket threat". BICOM. 2006-07-16. Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2006-09-10. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Hizballah Rockets". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  25. ^ a b http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-Threat/News/Iran-We-supplied-Zelzal-2-to-Hizbullah
  26. ^ "Agence Franal Institute For Strategic Studies". 2006-07-21. Archived from the original on 2006-07-25. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  27. ^ "Syria: Israel's Scud accusation may be pretense for attack". Haaretz. 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  28. ^ a b Gardner, Frank (2006-08-03). "Hezbollah missile threat assessed". BBC. 
  29. ^ "Iran to supply Hezbollah with surface-to-air missiles". Agence France-Presse. 2006-08-04. 
  30. ^ Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2006-04-28). "Country Reports on Terrorism: State Sponsors of Terror Overview". Retrieved 2006-07-17. 
  31. ^ "Iranian Assistance to Hizbullah. Iran Revolutionary Guards Officer: Hizbullah Has Iran-Trained Diver, Naval Commando Units; We Have Constructed Command Rooms for Hizbullah; Iranian Martyrdom Forces Have Been Sent To Lebanon". Memri.org. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  32. ^ "Middle East crisis: Facts and figures". BBC. 2006-08-31. 
  33. ^ Edward Cody and Molly Moore (2006-08-05) "Israeli Warplanes Hit Lebanon's Christian Areas," The Washington Post.

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