Rustom Ghazaleh has died/Hezbollah built airstrip for Iranian-made drones in Lebanon

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‘Hezbollah built airstrip for Iranian-made drones in Lebanon’
By JPOST.COM STAFF/J.Post/04/24/2015/Fresh satellite images reveal that the Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah has constructed an airstrip designed for its fleet of unmanned aerial vehicle. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the runway was built in the northern Bekaa Valley, just 10 kilometers south of the Lebanese village of Hermel. “The short length of the runway suggests the facility is not intended to smuggle in weapons shipments from Syria or Iran as it is too short for nearly all the transport aircraft used by the air forces of those countries,” according to Jane’s. “An alternative explanation is that the runway was built for Iranian-made UAVs, including the Ababil-3, which has been employed over Syria by forces allied to the Syrian regime, and possibly the newer and larger Shahed-129.” Earlier this month, a US Army report said that Iran is building an explosive fleet of so-called “suicide kamikaze drones” while also providing know-how on assembling these new weapons to its terrorist allies Hamas and Hezbollah. The report, which was cited by the American daily newspaper The Washington Times and published by the Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, states that “no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).” “Whereas a decade ago Iran’s UAVs and drones were largely for show, a platform with little if any capability, the Iranian military today boasts widespread use of drones, employed not only by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but also by the regular army, both regular and IRGC navy, and the regular and IRGC air forces.” This development is significant for Israel because both Hamas and Hezbollah have sought to deploy drones which have penetrated Israeli airspace. Thus far, they have not managed to cause damage, though drones outfitted with explosives could inflict casualties against soldiers and civilians. “In a mid-February speech, regular army General Abdolrahim Moussavi outlined the army’s growing use of drones, with emphasis on suicide or kamikaze drones,” according to the US Army report. “While it is easy to dismiss the idea of a suicide drone as more symbolic than real in an age of cruise missiles and precise Predators, utilizing suicide drones is an asymmetric strategy which both allows Iran to compete on an uneven playing field and poses a risk by allowing operators to pick and choose targets of opportunity over a drone’s multi-hour flight duration.”

Ex-Syria spy chief in Lebanon Rustom Ghazaleh has died
The Daily Star/ Apr. 24, 2015 /BEIRUT: News emerged Friday that the powerful former head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon Rustom Ghazaleh has passed away. But reports conflicted over his cause of death, and when and where he died. The news comes nearly two months after he was reported to have been badly beaten by Syrian security forces. “He died at 7:00 a.m. today (Friday) in a Damascus hospital and will be buried tomorrow in the capital,” AFP cited a family member as saying. The family source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ghazaleh suffered from hypertension. The source said that Ghazaleh had been fired after getting into a fight with another Syrian official in early March. The source did not elaborate. The Associated Press said Ghazaleh died in a hospital in the Syrian capital, citing the director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman. He did not say when Ghazaleh passed away, but that medical sources told him the ex-spy chief had been clinically dead for weeks, following a severe head injury suffered about two months ago. Ghazaleh was reportedly severely beaten in early March upon orders from Syrian military intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Rafik Shehadeh. He was moved to the Shami Hospital in Damascus after the beating, which occurred at Shehadeh’s office, sources had told The Daily Star at the time. The sources said the incident resulted from anger at Ghazaleh over a simmering dispute believed to involve the role of non-Syrian forces such as Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in directing the war effort. Lebanese news site Elnashra said Ghazali’s death resulted from the beating and electric shocks he received from Shehadeh’s bodyguards, which caused “atrophies in his chest muscles.” The report said the man left hospital shortly after the incident and was then brought back in after he suddenly fainted. Doctors had to open a hole in Ghazaleh’s throat to help him breath, Elnashra said. Ghazaleh succeeded Ghazi Kanaan as head of military intelligence in Lebanon in 2002 during Syria’s tutelage over Lebanon, which lasted until Damascus pulled its troops from the country in 2005. It is widely speculated that he was one of the men who orchestrated the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus denies any involvement in the 2005 killing.
In 2012, Ghazaleh was appointed the chief of Syria’s infamous political security branch.