Israeli soldiers and trucks are seen from southern Lebanon, as a Hezbollah flag flutters..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah is many times more dangerous than the terrorist organizations in Gaza, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, the outgoing head of the IDF’s Northern Command, told Army Radio on Wednesday.
He warned Israelis not to expect the same level of air defense cover that the South and Center of the country received during the war with Hamas in Gaza City this summer.
As a result of the greater threat from Hezbollah, in the event of conflict the IDF will have to take “many more decisive acts and employ much more power” than it did in Gaza, Golan said. The general said he knew of no confirmation of underground passages being dug from Lebanon into Israel. On the other hand, he added, Hezbollah and Lebanon are no strangers to tunnels, and “we therefore have to assume as a working assumption that there are tunnels. We must search for them and prepare for that.”
Golan added that the tunnel threat is “being exaggerated,” calling it a “new operational challenge.” The IDF has reasonable, new tools to deal with attack tunnels, he said.
In September, a senior army officer said he did not doubt that Hezbollah is “dealing” with tunnel digging, but added that there are no known tunnels leading into Israel from Lebanon. Hezbollah has built an extensive network of defensive tunnels and underground bunkers in southern Lebanon and, together with Iran, instructed Hamas on how to do so in the Gaza Strip.
Addressing the threat posed by Hezbollah’s large arsenal of projectiles, Golan said Israelis needed to understand that “the IDF will not be able to provide the same umbrella [air defenses] that it provided in the South. I assess that we will be able to intercept mainly the rockets and heavy missiles, and less the regular rockets. The biggest challenge regarding the Israeli home front at the moment is to explain that a clash in the North will not look like a clash in the South. There will be many more hits to the home front.”