TEL AVIV – Hezbollah may launch an attack against Israel before or during the construction of a new border fence next month, the former director of the Counter Terrorism Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday.
Ex-counter terror chief and former deputy commander of the IDF’s Galil Division Brig.-Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel told reporters that if Hezbollah chooses to strike before the construction of the barrier is completed, it could set off a third Lebanon war.
On Sunday, Hebrew media reported that the IDF is preparing for the Lebanon-based terror group to exploit the fact that large numbers of soldiers will be along the border next month.
The border aims to curb the threat of ground attacks from Hezbollah into Israel’s border communities. The improved fence will stretch between Rosh Hanikra on the northern Mediterranean coast and the kibbutz of Misgav Am near Kiryat Shemona, as well as between Rosh Hanikra and Hanita northeast of the northern city of Nahariya.
According to Haaretz, IDF’s Northern Command believes that Hezbollah may claim that Israel is in violation of the 2000 United Nations-approved border as a pretext to launch an attack.
On Friday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that “hundreds of thousands of fighters” would assist Syria and Lebanon in a war with Israel.
“The Israeli enemy should know that if it launches an attack on Syria or Lebanon, it’s unknown whether the fighting will stay just between Lebanon and Israel, or Syria and Israel,” Nasrallah said, adding that a future conflict would be “very costly for Israel.”
“I’m not saying countries would intervene directly — but it would open the door for hundreds of thousands of fighters from all around the Arab and Islamic world to participate in this fight — from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,” he said.
A day prior, Israel charged Hezbollah with violating United Nations Security Council resolutions by constructing a string of military observation points under the guise of installations belonging to an environmental NGO.
“Hezbollah is using an environmental organization as a cover for activities along the border with Israel,” Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi said at the Herzliya Conference.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot told the same conference on Wednesday that Hezbollah remains Israel’s primary nemesis. He added that the terror group is “arming itself with more lethal and accurate weapons to harm the Israeli home front.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council that Hezbollah was engaged in a “dangerous provocation” and urged the council to demand that Lebanon dismantle the observation posts in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
UNIFIL, the body’s 15,000-strong interim force in southern Lebanon, denied the claims, reporting that it “has not observed any unauthorized armed persons at the locations or found any basis to report a violation of Resolution 1701.”
Israel has claimed that UNIFIL has failed its mandate of ensuring “the immediate cessation” of attacks by Hezbollah and maintaining quiet along the border.