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Not so quiet on the northern front: Israel ready for war with Hezbollah

The Israeli military says that it had completed another step in preparing for a possible war along its northern front, where it has been trading fire with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah for six months.

 

Apr 08, 2024, updated Apr 08, 2024
FILE - Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel in south Lebanon, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. A war of words that has unfolded in Lebanon show longstanding schisms in the small country over Hezbollah, now amplified by the militant group's role in the Lebanon-Israel border clashes and by fears that an already crisis-hit Lebanon could be dragged into an all-out war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

FILE - Black smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel in south Lebanon, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. A war of words that has unfolded in Lebanon show longstanding schisms in the small country over Hezbollah, now amplified by the militant group's role in the Lebanon-Israel border clashes and by fears that an already crisis-hit Lebanon could be dragged into an all-out war. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

In a statement titled “Readiness for the Transition from Defense to Offense,” the military said the phase completed centred on logistics “for a broad mobilization of IDF (Israel Defence Forces) troops”.

“The commanders of the regular and reserve units are prepared to summon and equip all the required soldiers in just a few hours and transport them to the front line for defensive and offensive missions,” the military said on Sunday.

Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel across Lebanon’s southern border since October 8, a day after the Palestinian group Hamas launched an attack on Israel that triggered Israel’s war in Gaza, and has sent shock waves throughout the Middle East.

Earlier, the military said it launched air strikes on eastern Lebanon and hit Hezbollah infrastructure sites after the Iranian-backed group downed an Israeli drone.

Hezbollah said it later fired dozens of Katyusha rockets that hit an air defence base in the occupied Golan Heights, in retaliation for the Israeli raids on eastern Lebanon.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on that account.

Two security sources said the latest Israeli attack on Lebanon targeted a training camp belonging to Hezbollah in Janta village near the border with Syria and the town of Safri near Baalbek. There were no reported casualties, the sources said.

Israeli shelling has killed around 270 Hezbollah fighters and around 50 civilians, security sources say, and displaced some 90,000 people in southern Lebanon.

Around 60,000 Israelis have been uprooted from the country’s northern border area, and 18 people – civilians and soldiers – have been killed on the Israeli side of the border, according to Israeli tallies.

The US and other countries have sought a diplomatic resolution to the worst fighting between Israel and Hezbollah since their 2006 war. Hezbollah said it would not halt fire before a ceasefire is implemented in Gaza.

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