Israel Warns Future War with Hezbollah Will Be ‘Ferocious’

The Washington Post reports: MISGAV AM, Israel — When Israeli army commanders describe how the next war against Hezbollah could unfold, they often search for words not used in military manuals. The future conflict, they warn, will be “ferocious” and “terrible.”

For both sides, the Israelis fear.

Yet far worse for Hezbollah and the civilians of Lebanon, they promise.

Ten years after Israel and Hezbollah fought a bloody but inconclusive 34-day war that left more than 1,000 soldiers and civilians dead in July and August of 2006, the Lebanese Shiite militant group has been transformed.

Hezbollah is now a regional military power, a cross-border strike force, with thousands of soldiers hardened by four years of fighting on Syrian battlefields on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. There are 7,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria, Israeli commanders say.

Hezbollah troops have been schooled by Iranian commanders, funded by Tehran and have learned to use, in combat, some of the most sophisticated armaments available, such as fourth-generation Kornet guided anti-tank missiles. They pilot unmanned aircraft and fight alongside artillery and tanks. They have taken rebel-held villages with Russian air support.

More than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have died, the Israelis say; they do not describe Hezbollah as “demoralized” but “tested.”

“In 2006, Hezbollah fought a guerrilla war. Today, Hezbollah is like a conventional army,” said Elias Hanna, a retired Lebanese army general who teaches at the American University of Beirut.

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