WASHINGTON: Leaked US diplomatic cables show the group Hezbollah has acquired an arsenal of some 50,000 rockets and missiles, raising fears of an enlarged conflict with Israel, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
The Times, which said it had advance access to leaked documents from the WikiLeaks website, said one cable quoted a Pentagon official expressing concern over the Hezbollah arsenal.
The cable highlighted US concerns about proliferation of weapons, especially from Syria, the daily said.
The Pentagon official indicated Hezbollah’s arsenal now includes up to 50,000 rockets and missiles, including 40 to 50 Fateh-110 missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and most of Israel, and 10 Scud-D missiles.
The arsenal acquisition by Hezbollah has raised fears that any future conflict with Israel could erupt into a full-scale regional war, the Times said, quoting diplomats in the leaked cables.
The cables indicated that a senior Syrian Foreign Ministry official denied supplying Hezbollah with the weapons, echoing comments from President Bashar Al-Assad, but that US diplomats maintained that the flow of arms had continued to Hezbollah.
The 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Earlier leaked cables showed US diplomats accused Iran of smuggling weapons to Hezbollah as well.