UN peacekeepers, Lebanese army increase activity on Blue Line in light of Golan strike

After Hezbollah pledges retaliation for death of Jihad Mughniyeh, UN and Lebanese forces brace for escalation.

January 19, 2015 12:28
1 minute read.
UNIFIL soldiers

UNIFIL soldiers inspect remains of a shell launched from Lebanon into Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Working with the Lebanese army, UN peacekeepers increased their activity along the Blue Line Monday after tensions on the border with Israel escalated following an airstrike against Hezbollah militants operating on the Golan.

Lebanese security sources told The Daily Star, a Lebanese news service, that UN and Lebanese forces have been monitoring the border region intently, employing night vision capabilities to keep track of every maneuver at all hours in order to gauge the activity of the actors involved. 

The recent ramp up in security precautions followed an airborne strike against Hezbollah operatives on the Syrian side of the Golan heights. The Syrian Golan has become a battle ground between the Lebanese Shia group and their Syrian army allies against rebel and Islamist factions in Syria, such as Jabhat al-Nusra, a local al-Qaida affiliate.

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According to reports, among those killed in Sunday's strike near Quneitra was Jihad Mughniyeh, son of former Hezbollah chief Imad Mughniyeh, as well as two senior members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Ali Reza al-Tabatabai and another commander, General Mohamed Allahdadi.

While Israel maintains tactical anonymity concerning its involvement in the most recent operation against Hezbollah, intelligence sources have asserted that the younger Mughniyeh had been planning significant attacks against Israeli targets which included the use of rockets and anti-tank missiles. 

Hezbollah has already vowed to seek revenge for what it called a "harsh blow", but also added that "it will not rush to decide what steps should be taken." 

This determined yet tempered stance comes in light of Hezbollah's embattled status in the Syrian Civil War, which has cost the Iranian proxy much in terms of blood and treasure. 

In September of 2014 the UN removed hundreds of its peacekeeping troops from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, relocating themselves to positions behind the Israeli border after the continued disintegration of the security situation there. Earlier that month some 45 members of that international force were taken hostage by Jabhat al-Nusra, who later released them into Israeli hands. 

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