So, what happens when you brag that your country could start a war with another, wipe out the ground forces on your border and suffer only 500 casualties? Someone comes along to teach you geography.
Isareli General Matan Vilnai, former head of the Civil Defense and newly appointed ambassador to China made the boasts last week about what would happen if Israel went to war with Iran. Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah responded to Vilnai’s assessment on Friday.
“I tell the Israelis that you a have a number of targets, not a large number…that can be hit with precision rockets…which we have.” He explained that those targets would lead to mass casualties. “Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets will turn…the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real hell, and we can talk about tens of thousands of dead.”
Some have speculated that those “targets” would be Israel’s nuclear sites, the ones they won’t admit to having. But that’s hyperventilating nonsense. Simple geography, five minutes on Google maps and Wikipedia explains what Nasrallah is talking about.
The average range of a truck-mounted rocket launcher is 12 miles. Within twelve miles of the Lebanese border are four Israeli cities: Nahariya, Acre, Maghar and Karmiel. Nahariya has a population of over 51,000, Acre 46,000, Maghar 19,900 and Karmiel 44,000. The cities have high rise apartment and office buidings. Maghar has already been hit by Hezbollah rockets in the past. Though none of these cities has a building the size of one of the World Trade Center towers, it is worth noting that each of the towers had between 9,000 and 13,000 people in it on a normal day. A twenty-story building could hold between 1,000 and 2,000 easily. Each rocket launcher truck typically carries six rockets. Each city could sustain 6,000 to 12,000 dead in the first salvo if the targets are hit properly, if high rises were struck at their bases. Distance photos of the cities demonstrate their vulnerability to such an attack, rising out of the desert suddenly like isolated pillars of salt.
In addition to these cities with their high rise buildings, there are approximately three dozen small cities and towns within the 12-mile range. Around a quarter-million Israelis live within the range of Hezbollah’s rockets. The rocket launchers are mounted on trucks so they are quickly moved around and easily hidden.
Israel’s Civil Defense ministry might want to do a rational reassessment of the consequences of a first-strike attack on Iran.