Analysis: Will Hezbollah stop after an attack that didn't kill soldiers?
Did Hezbollah botch their long-awaited strike?
By ANNA AHRONHEIM
The initial reports and images from the scene in Avivim on Sunday afternoon were horrifying: smoke billowing in the rolling hills of the Galilee after three Kornet anti-tank missiles were fired by Hezbollah toward an IDF position and a military ambulance.Reports out of Lebanon claimed that Hezbollah had succeeded in hitting a military vehicle “killing and injuring” those inside. The IDF said that a “number of hits were confirmed” after several anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon toward an Israeli military base and IDF vehicles.There were reports of casualties and injuries that were evacuated to hospitals in Safed and Haifa by helicopter.Residents living within four kilometers of the border were also ordered to remain in their homes and open their bomb shelters.Even while the picture was unclear, the IDF hit back hard, sending more than 100 artillery shells toward targets in south Lebanon, including an airstrike on the Hezbollah cell which carried out the attack.But when the smoke cleared, the IDF stated: “There are no injuries or fatalities to our troops.”Hezbollah retaliated against Israel, but they failed to hit their mark.AdvertisementThe IDF had been preparing for an attack by the Shi’ite Lebanese terror group for more than one week. They closed roads along the border for military vehicles and, even according to Hezbollah, placed dolls in some military vehicles.But was that it? Did Hezbollah just botch their long-awaited strike?Reports from Lebanon say that the anti-tank attack was in response to an Israeli airstrike last week in Syria, which killed two members of the group. But that same night, a drone attack in Beirut’s Dahiyeh neighborhood was blamed on Israel.Lebanon’s LBCI TV news channel reported that Hezbollah warned, “Retaliation over drones will be in kind, and will be at its own time and according to its own circumstances.”While the military later removed all restrictions on residents in the North, the IDF said that it “will continue to keep a high threat level – both defense and offensive – for a wide variety of scenarios.”The IDF knows that Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah cannot let the alleged Israeli drone attack in Beirut go unanswered. He will respond, when he wants, how he wants and against what he wants.But the IDF does not want any soldiers hit – it knows that if one were to be injured or killed, a war would break out between the two enemies.No one wants a war two weeks before elections – especially against Hezbollah.The IDF was ambiguous about the casualties on Sunday afternoon, it acted as if the group hit its target. For more than two hours, the group thought it struck gold: they killed Israeli soldiers.It was a brilliant move by the military. The next move is in Hezbollah’s court.
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