by: Kate Norman
Tuesday, 28 July 2020 | Israelis living close to the northern border with Lebanon went from a normal day on Monday to suddenly being told to stay in their homes as gunfire and blasts sounded overhead. Military helicopters, fighter jets and drones buzzed in the sky, covered by a sheet of smoke.
The chaos started when a team of armed fighters from the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror group had infiltrated Israeli territory.
The “terror squad” was under Israeli surveillance even before they crossed the border, the Israeli military said in a statement. Once the gun-wielding Hezbollah group crossed the border and made it a few meters into the Jewish state, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) opened fire, unleashing machine guns, tanks and other heavy weapons and equipment. The IDF also set fire to create a smokescreen in the area.
No Israeli civilians or military personnel were injured, according to the IDF. As for the Hezbollah fighters, it is unclear how many were in the infiltrating squad and if any were injured or killed. They most likely fled back into Lebanon, the IDF spokesperson said. “We don’t know for sure their conditions at this point.”
During the commotion, the IDF ordered all civilians to clear the area and remain indoors, though once the literal and figurative smoke lifted, they were encouraged to return to their regular routine.
The incident took place at Shebaa Farms on Mount Dov, just over the border from Lebanon. Israel, Lebanon and Syria all lay claim to the land.
Israel claims the infiltration was an attempted attack in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike in Syria last week that killed a Hezbollah fighter. The terror group vowed revenge for the attack, which was targeting an incoming Iranian weapons shipment bound for Hezbollah.
However, the terror group in a televised statement denied that Monday’s cross-border incident even happened, much less that it was their big act of revenge.
“All that the enemy claims in the media about thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanese territory into occupied Palestine, as well as talk of the fall of martyrs and wounded Hezbollah members in bombing operations that took place in the vicinity of the occupation sites in the Shebaa Farms—is absolutely false.”
Some Arab media agree, claiming that such an attempt by a small force in broad daylight would be foolhardy and that it was merely an observation operation rather than an attempted attack.
Nonetheless, while distancing itself from Monday’s blundered operation, Hezbollah made a point to reiterate that it still has plans to avenge its fallen fighter and that retaliation “is definitely coming. The Zionists have only to wait for their crimes to be punished.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel views the infiltration attempt “with utmost gravity” and that Israel holds both Hezbollah and Lebanon responsible for any attacks coming out of Lebanon.
“Hezbollah needs to understand that it is playing with fire,” Netanyahu warned. “Any attack against us will be met with great strength.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz reiterated the warning: “The IDF is ready to respond. The State of Israel, the defense establishment and the IDF will continue to operate wherever required, near or far as it may be.”
Though the smoke died down and Israel’s northern civilians are back to their regular daily living, Israel’s military remains on high alert.
“Tense and complicated days are before us,” the IDF spokesman said.
Posted on July 28, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 28, 2020)
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