Hizbullah's Operational Plan to Invade the Galilee through Underground Tunnels


Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira for JCPA.org, December 4, 2018 –

Qassem Soleimani, Imad Mughniyeh, and Hassan Nasrallah

(l to r) Iranian Quds Force Commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Imad Mughniyeh, and Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah

One of the main lessons Hizbullah learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was the necessity of changing the aims of its next war with Israel. The new goals included building up its defensive capabilities and developing methods of attack that would allow Hizbullah to fight the war within Israeli territory. Hizbullah’s military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, led this process of integrating these lessons. He asserted that during the next war, Hizbullah would invade the northern Israeli Galilee region and conquer it. Hizbullah set its sights on regions which have topographical superiority in comparison to Israel’s inferior topographical positions near the border.

To achieve these goals, Mughniyah prepared an operational plan that he oversaw until his death in February 2008. After his death, Hizbullah special forces, known as the “Radwan Forces,” continued their training under the command of Mustafa Badr Al-Din until the revolt broke out in Syria in 2011.

The operational plan includes:

  1. The training of Hizbullah special forces to take control of isolated Israeli communities along the northern border. In Hizbullah terminology, this is referred to as “the conquest of the Galilee.” (See JCPA article, November 2, 2011, here.)
  2. The construction of tunnels infiltrating into Israeli territory, close to Israeli communities. The tunnels are intended for the movement of several hundred fighters, and not to abduct soldiers or civilians. The model that Mughniyah visualized was that of invasion tunnels from North Korea into South Korea, which his Iranian guides had studied intensively.
A North Korean tunnel prepared for an invasion of South Korea.

A North Korean tunnel prepared for an invasion of South Korea. (U.S. Army)

Hizbullah’s operational plan also includes the construction of facilities to launch massive missile attacks on population centers and strategic sites around Haifa in the north, Tel Aviv in the center, and Dimona in the south. Hizbullah’s arsenal of rockets and missiles is estimated at 100,000 – to 120,000. From Hizbullah’s perspective, the aerial attacks would attract the entire attention of Israel’s military, thereby simultaneously enabling Hizbullah to activate its plan for “the conquest of the Galilee” using its special forces.

The route of the Hizbullah tunnel from Lebanon into Israel.

The route of the Hizbullah tunnel from Lebanon into Israel. The tunnel was more than 80 feet deep, 6 feet wide, 6 feet tall. It ran 130 feet into Israeli territory and 600 feet from under a Lebanese home. The tunnel was dug through solid rock. (IDF Spokesman’s office)

About Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and as Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff. He edited the Jerusalem Center eBook Iran: From Regional Challenge to Global Threat.


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