IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned Hezbollah on Tuesday not to test
Israel’s resolve by attacking an Israeli target overseas.
came several weeks after the defense establishment went on high alert due to
increased threats to Israeli delegations abroad.
recruiting nations to combat Iran smuggling
US carrier enters Gulf after Iran tones down threats
powers signal openness to Iran nuke talks
“We are witnessing
efforts by Hezbollah and other hostile elements to perpetrate a brutal terrorist
attack far from Israel,” Gantz said. “I recommend to everyone not to test our
His warning was the first such statement by an Israeli official
and was likely made as part of a larger government strategy to deter Hezbollah
and Iran from launching an overseas attack against an Israeli target.
Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a “severe travel warning” two weeks ago advising
Israelis to stay away from Bangkok after Thai authorities arrested a Hezbollah
operative who was planning an attack against the city’s Israeli
Early this month, Israel raised its level of alert for overseas
delegations out of concern that Iran and Hezbollah would carry out an attack
ahead of the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah military chief
Several plots by Hezbollah to avenge Mughniyeh’s death –
which the group attributes to the Mossad – have been thwarted.
attempts have included plans to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan several
years ago, a plan to shoot down an Israeli airliner over Turkey with shoulderto-
air missiles and a plan to attack Israeli tourists in Sinai.
were also recently detained in Azerbaijan on suspicion of plotting to kill two
Israelis employed at a Jewish school in Baku.
On Friday, The Jerusalem
Post reported on a debate within the Israeli defense establishment as to whether
the country should openly threaten Hezbollah with retaliation if an attack
against an overseas target succeeds.
Some defense officials and the IDF
General Staff believe that Israel should immediately clarify that such an attack
would be met with war, just as the country recently declared how it would
respond to abductions of soldier.
Other officials believe that Israel
should not necessarily go to war over an attack and its reaction should depend
on the chosen target and especially the number of casualties.
officials warn that if Israel declares it will go to war and does not follow
through, it will undermine its deterrence and ultimately lead Hezbollah to
believe that overseas attacks are a safe strategy.