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War against Hezbollah ‘much more likely than in past,’ IDF chief warns

Chief of Staff Halevi inspects a training exercise at the northern border

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi seen during during a visit in the Northern Command, Nov. 28, 2023. (Photo: David Cohen/Flash90)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi warned that the likelihood of war with Hezbollah terror forces in Lebanon is higher than in the past.

“Training has always been a very important thing. I think it is much more important now,” said Halevi, while visiting a training exercise by troops stationed on Israel’s northern border this week.

“We are in a phase of increasing readiness for fighting in Lebanon, we have a lot of lessons from the fighting in Gaza, many of them are very relevant to fighting in Lebanon, and there are some that must be adjusted.”

Halevi spoke to the reserve soldiers as he inspected an offensive operations exercise, together with the commander of the Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin, and the head of Training and Preparation Command Maj.-Gen. David Zini, and other commanders.

“We want to reach a very clear goal in Lebanon,” Halevi continued. “This is to return the residents to the north, all the settlements in the north. We understand that this thing must go through a very significant change.”

Some 100,000 Israeli residents of towns close to the Lebanese border have been evacuated so far because of Hezbollah’s incessant rocket and missile fire.

“I don’t know when the war in the north will happen, I can tell you that the likelihood of it happening in the coming months is much higher than it was in the past,” the chief noted.

Halevi added that the IDF is now in a much more advantageous position than a few months ago, as the ongoing low-intensity fighting raised Israeli morale and decreased Hezbollah’s confidence and abilities.

“What remains is to train seriously, keep a strong spirit, and when we have to, we will go forward with all our force.”

Israeli troops on the northern border have been strengthened with large reserve forces since the war began on Oct. 7 and have been training and raising their readiness ever since.

On Monday, Gordin visited another battalion-level exercise of the 228th Brigade near the border.

“We are more ready for this than we have ever been, tonight if we have to, and we will continue and strengthen the preparedness and assessments going forward as well,” he said.

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

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