Al Mayadeen documentary: How Hezbollah burnt the IOF's Naqab Forest
Al Mayadeen airs a new documentary disclosing undisclosed details about the Israeli landing operation in Abbassiyye back in 2006.
"On August 5, 2006, two Sikorsky CH-53K helicopters landed on the coast of Tyre, South Lebanon, 23 kilometers deep into Lebanon from Ras al-Naqoura, a rescue operation to evacuate naval commandos operatives after failing to abduct a senior Hezbollah official,"
Israeli military analyst Amir Bohbot in November 2018
About 12 years after naval forces from 13 special forces unit in the IOF conducted the "Naqab Forest" operation on Lebanese territory, specifically on November 29, 2018, the Israeli Walla news website published exclusive footage of the evac-mission after the special forces unit failed to abduct the commander of Hezbollah's missile force.
The footage shows the airborne Israeli mechanics evacuating 92 Israeli soldiers who were tasked with the Naqab Forest operation led by Amir Peretz, the Israeli security minister at the time.
According to the testimony of the field commander, Reserve Major Ziv Garshuni, the loophole that led to the failure of the operation was that they had no picture of the target, but rather there was only preliminary data that he was bald, bearded, and was roughly 6'2.
On his part, the chief of the elite reserves "J" said, "We knew from the start that it was a very complicated operation, and we were overtaken by fear when we reached the exposed point between the two buildings".
Missile Force Commander narrates the incident
For a more in-depth look at the events of this operation, the events leading to it, and the events that followed, Al Mayadeen prepared a documentary titled "How Hezbollah Burnt the Naqab Forest - The 2006 Abbassiye Landing Operation."
Al Mayadeen conducted an interview as part of the documentary with Hezbollah's missile force commander Hajj Abbas, who was the target of the Israeli Naqab Forest operation, revealing previously undisclosed information.
Hajj Abbas told Al Mayadeen that on August 5, 2006, after the first missile was launched toward Khedira and the surroundings of "Tel Aviv" as part of the equation set by Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, "to Haifa, and beyond Haifa", Hajj Abbas withdrew with his comrades Ibrahim Khalil Hamada and Hajj Nabil to a relatively safe location in the Al-Ruzz compound in Tyre.
بعد معادلة "ما بعد بعد حيفا"، التي أطلقها السيد #نصرالله، لقاء يجمع القائد #عماد_مغنية والقيادي في الوحدة الصاروخية في #حزب_الله، "الحاج عباس".. ما الذي تضمّنه اللقاء؟— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) September 22, 2023
في ذكرى احتفال النصر في لبنان في 22 أيلول/سبتمبر 2006، شاهدوا #وثائقي_الويب "كيف أحرق حزب الله غابة النقب –… pic.twitter.com/eWR6muqPAv
Hajj Abbas continued, saying, "On that day, I celebrated the success of the operation with my comrade after 72 hours of persistent toil. At around 12 midnight, I involuntarily fell asleep, only to wake up around 3:30 am to a sound resembling the movement of a key in the door of the residential apartment we had taken refuge in."
"When I understood what was happening, I realized that Israeli forces were breaking into the apartment. I tried to jump from the balcony, only to discover about 15 Israeli soldiers below. I began firing in their direction, hitting around 7 or 8 soldiers in the head or shoulders."
"The moment I opened fire, the martyr Abu Ali Hamada woke up in the adjacent room and threw himself at the Israeli forces in the house's corridor. He got martyred in an exchange of fire with the attacking force," he added.
Check out the documentary:
The attacking Israeli force then turned their attention to martyr Nabil, who was the closest to them in the apartment. They captured him and questioned him, Hajj Abbas narrated. After he naturally refused to answer, they shot him at the staircase.
Due to the high number of casualties, the attacking force modified their plan to evacuate their wounded. They began to withdraw, throwing stun and smoke grenades behind them all over the apartment, Hajj Abbas added.
He continued, "None of those grenades caused me significant harm. The moment I sensed that the attacking force was evacuating the apartment, I deliberated to keep them occupied until I was sure they hadn't captured the bodies of martyrs Abu Ali Hamada and Hajj Nabil. Afterward, I evacuated the building toward the adjacent orchards."
As for the route taken by the Israeli task force to carry out the operation, Hajj Abbas explained that the operation began in Tyre, by the sea, from an area called Jall al-Bahr. From there, they headed toward the City Park amusement park in the direction of the main road. After that, they crossed the main road toward the orchard, turned right toward Abbassiye Street, and passed through it to reach the first Al-Ruzz compound where the resistance fighters were staying.
Martyrs fallen in the face of the Israeli attacking task force
During the withdrawal, the occupation forces took the same route they entered the area through. Movement in the area was effectively disrupted through extensive combing, gunfire, and airstrikes.
The operation left a number of fighters and affiliates of the Islamic Resistance martyred: Ibrahim Hamada, Nasser Abdel-Ghani, Sheikh Hassan Abdel Karim Mokdad, Hussein Qassem, and Nidaa Abu Shaqra, a soldier in the Lebanese army.
"Hezbollah fighters have now moved past the beyond-Haifa phase and may advance even further."
Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah - July 25, 2006
Regarding the equations established by the resistance in the July war and the surprises that shocked the occupation during the confrontation, Hajj Abbas explained during the Al Mayadeen documentary that the war at that time was largely a "missile war." Through missiles, "Hezbollah was able to establish the equation of fire with fire and civilians for civilians."
According to Hajj Abbas, the missile war was "painful and harmful" to the Israeli occupation.
"Of paramount importance to the resistance was diversifying the types of missiles and possessing what had not been used before against the enemy and training the fighters to use them."
In this context, he emphasized that "the missiles used in the war against Israel were almost a surprise to them because the occupation could not decisively confirm their presence with all its intelligence capabilities."
He pointed out that "the enemy tried to stop missile launches during the 2006 war, but due to the tactics employed, they could not halt or limit the missile fire. The resistance began the war at a certain pace and ended it at the same pace so that the enemy would not think at any time that the resistance's strength had waned in strength."
He explained that "after the abduction operation in July, the enemy began bombarding wildly and hysterically, destroying buildings, trees, and people. The resistance responded with missile strikes on the front line along the Lebanese-Palestinian border, specifically targeting the enemy's command centers, camps, positions, and observation points, gradually expanding the response toward Haifa."
The first surprise, according to Hajj Abbas, was "the first missile that hit the Haifa train station, which resulted in about 8 casualties and a large number of injuries, shocking the enemy with this precise and qualitative response."
In the documentary on Al Mayadeen, it was explained that the city of Haifa was made the line of fire, due to its economic and geographical importance to the Israeli occupation: which makes it second only to "Tel Aviv". Additionally, Haifa was an easy target such that it is relatively close to the Lebanese borders.
Hajj Abbas emphasized that "the firing continued in succession against the enemy at a time when they were trying to discover the locations of the missile systems, only to discover them after the missiles were launched."
He further confirmed that "one of the most significant achievements of the war is that the enemy did not know the location of the missile systems before they were fired, as all the missile systems that were targeted were only struck after they had fulfilled their mission ."
Hajj Abbas pointed out that the missiles used in the war included "mortar shells, 107 missiles, Grad missiles, modified Grad missiles, and also Iranian Fajr 3 and 5 missiles," but the most commonly used missiles were Syrian-manufactured ones, one with a range of 70 kilometers and the other with a range of 90 kilometers, which were used to target Khadiriya."
Amidst the continuous losses inflicted on the enemy by the resistance's missiles, the scale of Israeli fire doubled down, and they started striking deep within Israeli territory.
At that point, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah initiated the equation "To Haifa and beyond Haifa," so "it was necessary to introduce some modifications to the capabilities [of the missile systems] to reach deeper into the entity," according to Hajj Abbas.
Hajj Rodwan's Message
In light of these facts, Hajj Abbas narrates that the martyr and late leader Imad Mughniyeh (Hajj Radwan) contacted him and his comrades in an effort to implement the equation of "To Haifa and beyond Haifa".
Hajj Radwan, during the call, stated that the Israeli leaders should know that Hezbollah is capable of acting on the threats made by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and he expressed the hope that we would be the hand that the Sayyed can use to strike at whatever depth he desires.
After that, the search to locate potential targets commenced "through diagnosing the target, the type of weapon and its range, as well as the shooting locations, to conclude that Khadiriya and the surroundings of Tel Aviv will mark the first missile attack beyond Haifa."
Hajj Abbas explained that this operation demonstrated Hezbollah's missile capabilities, which the Israeli occupation did not anticipate in terms of range, impact, and scale of destruction. It inflicted significant damage on the occupation forces and proved their inability to destroy these capabilities. This led them to initiate the "Naqab Forest" operation, aimed at targeting the leader of Hezbollah's missile force. However, they failed in this attempt, and it marked another episode of their defeats, as three fighters from Hezbollah defeated a force of over 90 Israeli soldiers during that operation.