Israeli army admits Hezbollah map just ‘illustration’
JERUSALEM - The Israeli army acknowledged Friday that a "declassified map" it released earlier this week showing alleged armed deployment by Hezbollah across southern Lebanon was merely an illustration.
The army said that the map, which Israeli media said was circulated to foreign diplomats as evidence of its Lebanese foe's hostile intentions, was not based on any new intelligence.
The admission came after the data it contained was picked apart by online activist Judge Dan.
Asked if the map was an illustration or based on specific information, the army said it was "an illustration of Hezbollah's intentional abuse of the civilians of Lebanon."
The army released the map on Tuesday with symbols showing alleged Hezbollah rocket launchers, infantry positions and tunnels in almost every village in south Lebanon.
An accompanying Tweet accused the Shiite militant group of "hiding behind Lebanon's civilians, adding: "This is a war crime."
A UN ceasefire resolution that ended a devastating 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah required the Lebanese army to deploy to south Lebanon, including areas which had previously been the militant group's exclusive preserve.
Hezbollah agreed that its fighters south of the River Litani would not display weapons, but the area remains a stronghold of the group.
A decade after the conflict, Israel remains deeply sensitive to Hezbollah's arsenal and has vowed to take military action if necessary to prevent deliveries of heavy weaponry.
It has carried out sporadic air strikes against Hezbollah targets inside Syria where the group has deployed thousands of fighters in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.