Tensions High in Israel as IDF Expects Hezbollah to Strike Again

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Israeli soldiers sit by shells next to an Israeli mobile artillery unit placed in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Israeli forces have exchanged fire with Hezbollah militants along the volatile Israeli-Lebanese frontier. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Edited by: JV Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned Iran and its proxy terrorist group in Lebanon to back off from their threats to attack Israel, warning that Israel would take action to “thwart Iran’s military entrenchment in our region,” according to a report on the World Israel News web site.

The prime minister flew to northern Israel where he was briefed at the IDF’s Northern Command headquarters in Safed by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior IDF officials about the border incident Monday. A three-or four-man cell attempted to infiltrate Israel at the Har Dov area, presumably to attack an IDF outpost. The IDF spotted the cell and fired at it, apparently causing it to flee back into Lebanon, as was reported by Tazpit Press Service.  There were no injuries on either side.

Netanyahu warned Hezbollah and its Iranian-sponsors, both of whom are operating in Syria and propping up dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

Israeli mobile artillery units sit in place in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, Tuesday, July 28, 2020. Israeli security officials said soldiers exchanged fire with a “Hezbollah terror squad” to turn back an attempted incursion at the border with Lebanon on Monday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

“I do not suggest that anybody try the IDF or the State of Israel. We are determined to defend ourselves,” Netanyahu said.

TPS reported that the IDF stated after the incident that its forces “are ready and willing to continue as necessary. We will not allow the security of the residents of the State of Israel and its sovereignty to be harmed.”

“We have complex and tense days ahead of us. We continue to work to protect the sector,” the army added.

The terror group carried out that attack after it officially announced the death of one of its men killed in an attack attributed to Israel on Iranian targets in Syria a week ago, according to the TPS report.

Hezbollah has previously threatened to respond to any death of its men killed by Israel, in Lebanon or Syria. This official recognition of the death of one of their men would require a response, as was reported by TPS.

However, Hezbollah claimed after the attack that its operatives were not involved in the incident and that Israel unilaterally fired on Lebanon. “The state of alert which dominates the Zionist enemy for fear of Hezbollah response to the killing of martyr Ali Kamel Mohsen drove the Israeli army to move tensely,” Hezbollah stated while claiming that the IDF’s statements on a thwarted attack were “absolutely untrue and aim at fabricating fake victories.”

Hezbollah did not engage in any clash, nor did it open fire during Monday’s incident, the group claimed, according to the TPS report, saying that the “scared and tense enemy” unilaterally opened fire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being briefed during a helicopter ride to northern Israel, July 28, 2020. (PMO)

The “Zionists should await the punishment for their crimes” of killing Mohsen in Syria, and damage caused to a building during Monday’s fighting by IDF artillery “will not remain unanswered.”

TPS reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu later stated that “Israel will continue to take action against Iran’s efforts to entrench militarily in our region. Nasrallah is embroiling Lebanon – because of Iran.”

Israel views the attack “with utmost gravity. Hezbollah and Lebanon bear full responsibility for this incident and for any attack against the State of Israel emanating from Lebanese territory,” he stated, according to the TPS report

He warned that “Hezbollah needs to understand that it is playing with fire. Any attack against us will be met with great strength. Nasrallah already made a major mistake in underestimating Israel’s determination to defend itself and Lebanon paid a heavy price for this. I suggest that he not repeat this mistake.”

WIN reported that after the briefing, Netanyahu expressed his satisfaction with the performance of Israel’s military.

“I am impressed that the IDF is well prepared for every possible scenario. We will continue to take action to thwart Iran’s military entrenchment in our region. We will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves, and I suggest that Hezbollah consider this simple fact. Israel is ready for any scenario,” he said, according to the WIN report.

“Yesterday’s operation was important, it prevented intrusion into our territory. Everything that is happening right now is the result of an attempt to establish a military base in our region by Iran and its metastases in Lebanon,” the prime minister said, adding Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah “is serving this Iranian interest at Lebanon’s expense.”

Earlier Tuesday, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab tweeted about the border incident and accused Israel of violating Lebanese sovereignty, Channel 13 reported.

“Israel’s actions on the border are a dangerous military escalation – one must be careful in the coming days against loss of control and escalation,” Diab said, according to the WIN report, while boasting that “Israel’s army and leadership have become a joke of the world because of Hezbollah’s conduct.”

WIN reported that on Monday, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned Lebanon and Syria not to allow any attacks against Israel from their sides of the border.

In this April 4, 2014 file photo, Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces party, enters a hall to meet with his senior party officials to announce his candidacy for the Lebanese presidency, in Maarab east Beirut, Lebanon. Geagea told The Associated Press on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 that he blamed the militant group Hezbollah and its allies led by the country’s president for the rapidly deteriorating economy and Lebanon’s worsening relations with Arab countries. He says the only solution is for them to leave power. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

“Lebanon and Syria are both sovereign states and will bear the painful responsibility for any terrorist act that takes place on their territory,” Gantz added. “Anyone who dares to test the strength of the IDF will endanger himself and the country from which he operates. Any action against the State of Israel will lead to a powerful, sharp and painful response.”

As mentioned earlier, tensions remain high on Israel’s border with Lebanon after a foiled Hezbollah infiltration attempt on Monday. The terror group vows it still plans revenge for the killing of one of its members last week, according to the WIN report.

Hours after the infiltration incident on Monday, Hezbollah said its planned retaliation will “surely come.”

Hezbollah denied the infiltration on Monday ever took place. “Everything that was reported in the Israeli media – is not true. This is an invention,” it said in a statement.

WIN reported that pro-Hezbollah elements even suggested that Israel had invented the incident to give the terror group the chance to take credit for an operation and announce that it had taken revenge without having to do so.

In related developments, the AP reported that the leader of a major Christian group in Lebanon on Tuesday blamed the militant group Hezbollah and its local allies led by President Michel Aoun for the rapidly deteriorating economy and worsening relations with neighboring Arab countries, saying the only solution is for them to leave power.

Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces Party, told The Associated Press that Monday’s military activity along the border with Israel was a clear indication the current Lebanese government, which Hezbollah supports, doesn’t have sovereignty in the south, along Israel’s border, where thousands of U.N. peacekeepers are based.

“Yesterday’s incident gives a clear idea about the state of sovereignty for the Lebanese state. Is that acceptable?” Geagea said in the telephone interview, according to the AP report. “Which Arab and foreign countries want to deal with a government that considers itself nonexistent at a time when there is a security danger along its border?”

Hezbollah and its allies of the Free Patriotic Movement of President Aoun control majority seats in parliament and are the main backers of the current government that took office earlier this year, as was reported by AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab replaced Western-backed Saad Hariri who resigned in October, following nationwide protests against widespread corruption and mismanagement by Lebanon’s rulers.

Since then, the government has struggled to contain the escalating crisis, made worse by the pandemic. The government defaulted on paying back its debt for the first time in March, and the past few months have seen the Lebanese currency lose more than 80% of its value, as was reported by the AP.

The government has requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund but negotiations with the lender that started in mid-May have stalled because of divisions within the Lebanese leadership. Oil-rich gulf nations as well as international donors are refusing to give Lebanon a hand before major reforms are carried out within state institutions, according to the AP report.

Geagea, whose party has taken part in successive governments for the past decade and has 15 legislators in the 128-member parliament, said Lebanon received much assistance from Arab and Western countries in the past but all was wasted. Only a new, independent government would be able to win back the international community’s confidence, he said, as was reported by AP.

Geagea warned the alliance between of Hezbollah and Aoun’s party “has brought Lebanon to where it is and they will continue to do the same in the months to come.”

“As long as they are in power we will continue in the crisis. It is a very simple and clear equation,” Geagea said. “They are living on a different planet.”

The state’s strategic decisions are in Hezbollah’s hands, leading to deteriorating Lebanon’s relations with Arab states, he also said.

AP reported that Geagea, whose party played a major role in Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, said that once Hezbollah withdraws its fighters from Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and stops implementing Iran’s policy, Arab states will most likely review relations with Lebanon.

(WIN, TPS & AP)

Read more at: www.worldisraelnews.com

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