Hezbollah displays a pick-up truck mounted with a multiple rocket launcher in a parade in the southern Lebanese city of Nabatiyeh in 2014.
(photo credit: MAHMOUD ZAYYAT / AFP)
Hezbollah is the most imminent challenge on the horizon for the IDF, and the Israeli military has placed the Shi'ite terror organization at the top of its priority list, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot announced Wednesday when speaking about the northern border.
"We are re-prioritizing the northern front," the chief of staff emphasized and added that the army has plans both to fend off the Hezbollah threat and to react to it. Eisenkot also said that the army has sufficient intelligence concerning the Lebanon-based terror organization.
"Hezbollah is facing a complicated reality," the head of the IDF said, explaining that the terror group lost 1,700 of its militiamen and saw 7,000 injured as a result of its involvement in the Syrian Civil War. "But we don't let this delude us," Eisenkot continued, stressing again that despite the fact that the terror group has weakened in certain aspects, Israel is taking the threat posed by Hezbollah very seriously.
The chief of staff, who was speaking Wednesday at a seminar day held in memory of IDF soldiers and officers who fell during the Second Lebanon War, explained how Hezbollah has changed in recent years.
"Hezbollah is in a very complex strategic reality. A third of the organization today is fighting in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the majority of it in Syria," Eisenkot said.
"It [Hezbollah] has complex problems in the fighting but on the other hand it is gaining experience. It has serious budget problem, serious morale problems and...this organization has lost its two commanders in the past seven-eight years. One is Imad Mughniyah, who was killed in Damascus, and the other is the Hezbollah commander who was murdered a year ago by his supervisors, as far as we know [meaning Mustafa Badreddine]."
Eisenkot also spoke about the progress Hezbollah has made in the 11 years that have lapsed since it lost the Second Lebanon War to Israel. "From a perspective of eleven years, the Hezbollah organization has gotten stronger in terms of its capacities, despite the fact that it exists in great complexity, but on the other hand the north [of Israel] has experienced 11 years that were unprecedented [in terms of relative quiet] since the establishment of the country.
Children grow up in Kiryat Shmona and Naharia without sirens, without Katyiusha rockets and terrorist infiltrations," Eisenkot emphasized, contrasting it with "decades of a reality of terror" that the north had previously faced.
However, the chief of staff was confident in the army's durability facing this threat. "From knowing [our strength], I can say that when it comes to Israel's power balance and it's relations with its enemies in general and on the Lebanon front in particular, the IDF is a strong, powerful army that has an absolute edge over its enemies," he concluded.
Hezbollah says future war with Israel could take place in Israeli territory (credit: REUTERS)