Israel comes down on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon
In addition to being engaged with Hamas along the Gaza border, Israel is now striking Hezbollah targets on the Lebanese border.
Responding to shots fired from the Lebanese side the previous night, Israel launched airstrikes against Hezbollah observation posts across the border from Manara on Wednesday. The Lebanese state news agency confirmed this incident even as the Supreme Defense Council denounced the attacks, saying the caretaker foreign minister will take this up with the United Nations.
The “security incident” the previous night near the UN-demarcated border between Lebanon and Israel triggered a response from the Israeli army who first deployed illumination rounds, smoke shells and fired several rounds towards the targets. Following this, they sent out their fighter jets and attack helicopters. The Israeli army has said that they consider this a “severe event”. Israel reported no casualties. Over the weekend, Hezbollah had also claimed that it had brought down an Israeli drone flying inside Lebanon’s borders.
Just a few hours before the incident, Lebanon has turned down an Israeli call for reform the UN security force that is supposed to maintain the ceasefire between Lebanon and Israel that are technically at war. The United Nations Force, or UNIFIL, which was formed in 1978 and bolstered after the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006, works in coordination with the Lebanese army to fulfil its mandate.
But Israel has accused the 10,500-strong force of not being tough enough on Hezbollah even as it stockpiling weapons along the border. In this regard, Israel had demanded a review of this force before its mandate is due to be renewed at the United Nations Security Council. But Lebanon informed the permanent members on Tuesday that it has no intention of modifying its mandate or the numbers.
Israel has been striking Hezbollah targets in Syria and the tension has spilled over to the border with Lebanon. The group has considerable influence in the Lebanese government and is believed to be directing the decision of the caretaker government. Israel is also currently engaged in cross-border firing with Hamas and is attacking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to fire balloons and incendiary devices being sent into its territory.