By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
Since Israeli jets killed a Hezbollah operative in Damascus, the Israeli army is in a state of full alert, amassing tanks and elite forces on the borders to prevent Hezbollah from crossing into Israeli settlers’ areas. Israel is sending messages in all directions, expressing its readiness for war and for hitting Lebanon if its forces come under attack. However, the behaviour of the Israeli army indicates the opposite, that it is not aiming for a general war or to attack the heart of Lebanon’s infrastructure. It is indicating its intention to retaliate in a limited “hit-back” reply along the borders without hitting the entire front line. Israel is not alone in its purpose to moderate its retaliation. Iran also is unwilling to go to war or see its allies engaging a long battle when there are critical challenges ahead in the international arena, and before the end of this year.
The Israeli army is on full alert where Sayeret Maglan (a reconnaissance unit specialised in operating behind enemy lines) and the Golani Brigade were sent to the length of the 150 km borders with Lebanon. It has cleared all unnecessary personnel from around the borders and prevented military vehicles from driving on roads exposed to anti-tank guided missiles fired by Hezbollah from Lebanon. However, last week’s response – when a 19-year-old female soldier saw “something moving” in the occupied Shebaa Farms – indicates how ready it is for a limited reaction against Hezbollah. Indeed, the Israeli army bombed its fence along the borders, and only one shell reached its “target”, a house in Habbariyeh village (on the southwestern slopes of Mount Hermon near the Syrian border, northeast of Rachaya Al Foukhar) causing damage to a balcony and a bathroom.
Israel refrained from hitting Hezbollah’s positions along the frontline and did not hit the heart of the defences and the “responsibility zone” that includes the line of security and attack behind the defence line. Israel kept away from Hezbollah’s Special Operation Forces’ position, “al-Ridwan”, the same force that fought in Syria for nine years in urban warfare and in the vast open spaces of the Syrian mountains and desert.
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Proofread by: Maurice Brasher
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