The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, claimed that Israel "does not dare to fire a single bullet" at Hezbollah members in Lebanon, during a speech on Tuesday.
Qaani referenced the killing of a Hezbollah member in an alleged Israeli airstrike near Damascus in July 2020 and threats by Hezbollah to respond, claiming that "from the day Hezbollah declared [that the member had been killed], you did not see a single person in an officer's uniform on the Zionist front, and everyone had run away."
Qaani's comments came just days after a member of the Quds Force who had operated in Syria was assassinated in Tehran, with the IRGC blaming agents affiliated with Israel's Mossad.
Multiple clashes have taken place along the Lebanese-Israeli border since the airstrike in which the Hezbollah member was killed in 2020.
In August of last year, after Hezbollah fired about 20 rockets towards Israel and the IDF responded with 30 artillery shells towards open areas in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stated that the clashes were a "very dangerous development" and the first of their type since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
The rocket fire came as a Hezbollah response to Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon which were conducted in response to earlier rocket fire believed to be from Palestinian groups in the country.
Nasrallah stated at the time that no Israeli airstrikes had hit a target in Lebanese territory since the Second Lebanon War, with the exception of what he called "minor violations" and an "ambiguous incident" between the Lebanese and Syrian borders. It is unclear which incident he was referring to.
The Hezbollah leader added at the time that the rocket fire was not a response to the killing of the Hezbollah member in Syria. As of Wednesday, Hezbollah had not conducted an attack since 2020 that they claimed as a response to the member's killing.
In late April, a rocket was fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, with the IDF responding with dozens of artillery shells towards sites in southern Lebanon. The retaliatory fire targeted the launch area as well as an unspecified “infrastructure target,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said at the time.