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Israel warns Hezbollah against expanding the conflict

Israeli reserve soldiers take part in a military drill in the Golan Heights, northern Israel, January 24, 2024. (Photo: Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

IDF spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari has warned the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group against further military provocation on the Lebanese border amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The statement made on Saturday evening was accompanied by newly released footage showing Israeli strikes on terror targets in Lebanon and neighboring Syria.

Hagari blasted Hezbollah for joining Hamas’ aggression against Israel.

“Since the war began, Hezbollah has aligned itself with Hamas,” Hagari said. “For 120 days, the residents of the north have been living in a complex reality far from their homes. Hezbollah has been trying to divert our attention from the fight in Gaza, firing toward Israeli territory and attempting further terrorist actions. Over the last four months, we have been conducting a very intense war on the northern front.”

The Israeli military has responded to the almost daily rocket and drone attacks with growing fire-power directed at Hezbollah military and weapons sites.

Hagari revealed the success, to date, of the army and air force.

“Instead of one division in peacetime, we've deployed three divisions, tens of thousands of soldiers. So far, we've struck over 150 terrorist cells, eliminating more than 200 terrorists and commanders. We've targeted over 3,400 Hezbollah sites across southern Lebanon, a complex terrain with villages and settlements,” the IDF spokesman confirmed.

While Hezbollah is considered more militarily powerful than Hamas, Hagari noted that both pro-Iranian terror groups deliberately embed themselves in civilian infrastructure, which constitutes a war crime under international law.

“Like Hamas, Hezbollah embeds its infrastructure within civilian populations to complicate our efforts to strike them. Therefore, our attacks are conducted with precise intelligence-guided targeting. We’re prepared to strike any house used by Hezbollah.”

As Iran’s most powerful terror proxy, Hezbollah has also been heavily involved in backing the Assad regime in Syria. Israel usually does not comment on its military operations in Syria, however, Hagari added a warning in his statement.

“We are also targeting Hezbollah infrastructure in Syria, having struck over 50 such targets spread across Syria. We will be wherever Hezbollah is found. What applies to Lebanon also applies to Syria and even further afield.”

Despite the regular fighting across Israel's northern border, both Hezbollah and the IDF have so far tried to avoid launching a full-scale war.

However, as Israel releases tens of thousands of its soldiers from Gaza, more military resources become available on the northern front.

Israelis in the north, including Messianic pastors, are currently bracing for a potentially massive war with Hezbollah.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recently warned that the window of opportunity for a diplomatic solution with Hezbollah is closing. He stressed that an expanded war with the Iranian proxy could potentially reach Israel’s largest northern city of Haifa, with a metropolitan population of around one million people.

“We may end up with violent action, whose consequences could reach the Haifa District as well, and that should be taken into account,” Gallant stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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