Israel prepares for Hezbollah reprisals along Lebanon border

Israel restricted traffic along the Lebanon border after Hezbollah’s leader threatened retaliation.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday put limits on traffic near the border with Lebanon following threats by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah after two alleged Israeli attacks on Sunday.

“At the end of an operational assessment, it was decided that the movement of certain vehicles on several axes would be possible on the basis of individual approval,” the IDF said.

On Sunday, Nasrallah said that the Lebanese resistance would respond to any new Israeli attack, and that the time when Israel could attack Lebanese territory with impunity was over.

“From tonight, I tell the Israeli army on the border, be prepared and wait for us,” Nasrallah said in the televised address. “One day, two days, three days…”

Israel was held responsible for an airstrike on Palestinian terrorist bases and, in a separate incident, two drones which crashed near Hezbollah offices in Beirut. On Tuesday, Hezbollah said they were filled with explosives and were intended as an attack.

Israeli forces have been on high alert in the north since Sunday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting with Israeli defense officials overnight Saturday to discuss the situation.

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He also  held a four-and-a-half hour meeting with his Security Cabinet on Monday. Details of the meeting were not released but Netanyahu ordered opposition party chairman Benny Gantz to receive a briefing on the security situation.

Lebanon and Iraq called the recent attacks attributed to Israel a “declaration of war.”

The angry rhetoric from Lebanon came in response to three strikes on military sites in the country belonging to the Palestine Front for the Liberation of Palestine, (PFLP) a terrorist group that has remained largely behind the scenes in recent decades.

However, Israel has not taken credit for the attacks on PFLP bases and Israeli observers say the drones that Hezbollah claimed crashed near its headquarters appear to be Iranian, not Israeli.

However, according to Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper on Tuesday, the U.S. sent a message to the Lebanese government that Israel had “no intention of carrying out an offensive mission” but that one of its drones suffered a technical malfunction. A second one was sent to blow it up.

Al-Akhbar says that the intention of the message was to convince the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah from taking military reprisals against Israel.