Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist political and military organization based in Lebanon, poses a significant military threat to Israel with its well-equipped military wing. With an arsenal of anti-tank and anti-air systems, thousands of drones, and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles, Hezbollah boasts a multifaceted military capability that exceeds that of Hamas in terms of firepower and equipment. The group also maintains an extensive tunnel network along the Lebanese-Israeli border, similar to Hamas.
Estimates suggest that Hezbollah has around 100,000 active fighters and an arsenal of 150,000 to 200,000 rockets and missiles, including some precision rockets. The majority of its military hardware is Soviet or Iranian-made, and the group receives support and weapons from Iran and Syria. Hezbollah's air-defence capabilities include a range of anti-aircraft weaponry, from man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) to dedicated anti-air missile batteries like the Pantsyr S1 and Buk M2 platforms.
In contrast, Hamas, the ruling authority in the Gaza Strip, has limited resources and receives less advanced weaponry. With an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 fighters, Hamas relies on guerrilla warfare tactics and asymmetric warfare. Its arsenal includes assault rifles, heavy machine guns, RPGs, and locally made explosives. Hamas has access to short-range rockets like the Qassam rocket and mid-range rockets like the Fateh-110, which are also used by Hezbollah. However, it lacks air defence systems and operates without conventional military vehicles.
The differences between Hezbollah and Hamas highlight the varying military capabilities of the two groups. While Hezbollah possesses advanced weaponry, armoured vehicles, and air-defence systems, Hamas relies on mobility, surprise attacks, and a vast supply of missiles. Both groups pose a threat to Israel, but in the event of a large-scale Israeli ground invasion, an all-out assault on Israel by Hezbollah would force the Israeli Defense Forces to divide their resources and fight battles on two fronts.
It's important to note that both Hezbollah and Hamas have been engaged in intermittent conflict with Israel, with recent escalations following Hamas' October 7 attacks. As the situation continues to unfold, the military capabilities of these two groups play a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of the conflict and the potential outcomes for all parties involved.