by: Ilse Strauss
Wednesday, 29 July 2020 | According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Islamic Republic of Iran is to blame for heightened tensions on Israel’s northern border, particularly an infiltration attempt by a Hezbollah terror cell on Monday.
Speaking during a security assessment at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Northern Command headquarters, the prime minister said, “Yesterday’s action was important; it thwarted an infiltration into our territory. Everything happening now is the result of the effort by Iran and its Lebanese proxies to entrench militarily in our region. [Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan] Nasrallah is serving this Iranian interest at Lebanon’s expense.”
Netanyahu’s tour of the northern border area comes a day after an armed Hezbollah terror squad infiltrated a short distance into Israel in a region called Mount Dov or Shebaa Farms—a plot of land that Israel, Syria and Lebanon each claim as their own.
According to the military, the infiltration did not take Israel by surprise, and the IDF had the terror cell in their sights well before they crossed the border. Once on Israeli soil, the IDF opened fire, forcing the terrorists back into Lebanon. No Israeli civilians or troops were hurt in the incident.
Tensions have been simmering between Israel and Hezbollah since the terror group accused Jerusalem of killing one of its fighters in an air strike targeting an Iranian weapons shipment in Syria last week. Hezbollah vowed revenge, and Israel took the threats seriously, reinforcing troops on the northern border ahead of a possible retaliation attack.
The question is: was Monday’s botched attack the promised payback gone wrong? Or is retaliation still coming? Alternatively, was the infiltration attempt merely token revenge orchestrated to sooth Hezbollah’s bruised ego without starting a war with Israel?
Jerusalem views the attack as serious and believes it was meant to settle a score. Moreover, according to Netanyahu, Monday’s incident forms part of a regional crisis unfolding on Israel’s northern border with Iran as the main antagonist and its terror proxy Hezbollah as the supporting adversity. And Israel, the prime minister said, will continue to do everything in its power to thwart Iran’s ambitions of regional hegemony in a Middle East without Israel.
For its part, Hezbollah denied the incident happened, vowing that revenge is still coming. However, is the Lebanese terror group washing its hands of the strike because it was such a dud? Israel certainly thinks so. According to the IDF, the military has security footage of the armed men crossing the border from Lebanon into Israel.
Regardless, Jerusalem is not taking Hezbollah’s threats lightly. Bracing for additional attacks, the IDF reinforced the Northern Command, deploying specialized units, advanced weapons systems and intelligence-gathering systems.
“The IDF is prepared for any scenario,” Netanyahu vowed. “We will do all that is necessary to defend ourselves. I suggest Hezbollah take this simple fact into consideration.”
Posted on July 29, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 29, 2020)
Photo Credit: Cpl. Eden Briand, IDF Spokesperson's Unit/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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