Tit-for-tat, but not too much: Coronavirus keeps lid on actions by Israel, Hezbollah

Terror group’s Friday border fence cuttings seen as response to Israel’s moderate attack on car in Syria after allowing terrorists to escape.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Coronavirus is causing both Israel and the terror group Hezbollah to avoid escalation in the north.

Hezbollah’s cutting of the border fence between Israel and Lebanon on Friday night is seen by the IDF as a mild response to the blowing up of a car carrying the terrorist organization’s operatives earlier in the week on the Syrian-Lebanese border – after the men were allowed to escape from the vehicle, Yediot Ahronot reported on Sunday.

The alleged Israeli strike was unusual in that the first missile shot from the drone struck the ground a few meters away from the car. The terrorists can first be seen on video running away, then coming back to haul out several duffel bags before leaving again, and only then a second missile destroys the vehicle.

The whole event could be categorized as only a warning to Hezbollah, said the report, to tell the Iranian-backed group that Israel is watching and could kill its operatives at will. In its turn, Hezbollah sent its people to cut man-sized holes in the Israeli-Lebanese border fence in three places that were 36 kilometers apart in total.

Although the fence is seeded with electronic sensors and there is constant surveillance of the area by border troops, terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah may have been sending back the message that Hezbollah “can infiltrate whenever and wherever we want.”

The IDF made sure that no one had actually crossed over into Israeli territory, and immediately began fixing the fence. The army said it held the Lebanese government responsible for all hostile acts emanating from its territory. According to UN Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War, the Lebanese army is supposed to be the only military body in the southern part of the country, yet Hezbollah is in control of the area.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz has sent an official protest to the UN Security Council over the “serious” event, calling it “a provocative attempt… to undermine Israeli sovereignty.”

Israel has not taken official responsibility for the attack in Syria, which the Al-Arabiya news site called an attempted assassination of senior terrorist Mustafa Mughniyeh, who is trying to establish a Hezbollah stronghold in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Other reports said that the car contained parts needed for turning Hezbollah rockets into precision-guided missiles – a threat that Jerusalem has said many times it would never allow to materialize.