Israel poised to invade Lebanon – media
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to start a full-blown war against the pro-Palestinian armed group Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Lebanese broadcaster LBCI reported on Saturday.
Hezbollah has been firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli positions since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. The barrages have prompted retaliatory strikes from the Israeli army.
According to LBCI, an intelligence report on Israel’s plans has been provided to Hezbollah by an unnamed Arab country. The potential IDF campaign would be aimed at compelling the militants to abide by UN Security Resolution 1701, which was adopted after the end of the last Israel-Lebanon war in 2006, the TV channel said. The UN document facilitated the creation of a demilitarized zone along the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The situation further escalated this month after an Israeli strike killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut.
Last week, Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said that the possibility of a conflict with Beirut was “much higher than it was in the past.” He added that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were in a state of “increasing readiness” for cross-border attacks.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, meanwhile, said that the involvement of other countries in the Israel-Hamas fighting would be “unacceptable.” He also warned that a war with Lebanon would not be “a picnic” for Israel. Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzedine similarly said that the militants would “fight back twice as hard and deal a blow to the enemy.”
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the Middle East to try and prevent a full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah.
According to the Washington Post, US officials are concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may want to attack Israel’s northern neighbor amid the growing criticism of his government’s failure to prevent the Hamas October 7 incursion, which left around 1,200 people dead. The report also suggested that the IDF would find it “difficult to succeed” in a two-front war against Hamas and Hezbollah.