Hezbollah backed off attack, but still intends to strike, IDF says

IDF surmises Lebanese terror group called off strike on Israel at last minute but is still planning to attack.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon called off an attack against Israel at the last minute, apparently due to Israel sending reinforcements to the northern border, but the Israeli military thinks that the threat has not disappeared, Walla News reported Monday.

The IDF estimates that the media exposure in the past few days of Israel’s heavy reinforcements of forces disrupted the organization’s plan, but emphasized that Hezbollah is still expected to try some type of military strike aimed at killing at least one Israeli soldier.  The army fears sniper fire or the launch of an anti-tank missile across the border.

Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem told the Lebanese news outlet Al Mayadin Sunday that the organization’s leadership decided to remain silent regarding the response to the killing of one of its terrorists last week in an attack inside Syria that foreign sources attributed to Israel.

The pro-Hezbollah Al-Miyadin website also reported that Israel had sent a message to the Lebanese government via the UN warning against any retaliatory action for the killing in Syria, saying Israel did not know a Hezbollah member was in the area of the Syria attack.

The message apparently warned Beirut that Israel will not restrain itself if Hezbollah attacks and that the IDF is even preparing to attack Hezbollah targets deep in Lebanon in response.

“Lebanon and Syria will be held responsible for everything that happens on and from their territory,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Sunday during a visit to the northern border area, where he heard situational assessments from the IDF.

“We will continue to stand up for our security interests,” Gantz reiterated, issuing a stern warning to Hezbollah and their Iranian backers. “We will prevent at any cost any Iranian establishment in Syria, and we will prevent the transfer of advanced weapons [to Hezbollah].”

“Whoever tests us will be sorry,” he said.

Sources in the IDF’s Northern Command said the biggest challenge is keeping IDF soldiers away from the border, so as not to provide Hezbollah with targets, while maintaining a high level of protection for military posts and communities near the border.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also warned Hezbollah and Iran.

“We are acting according to our consistent policy of not allowing Iran to entrench militarily on our northern border,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We will not allow our security to be undermined; neither will we allow our citizens to be threatened. We will not tolerate attacks on our forces. Together with the Defense Minister and the Chief-of-Staff, I am holding ongoing assessments of the situation. The IDF is prepared to respond to any threat,” the prime minister stated.