Was this the long-awaited Hezbollah retaliation?

Hezbollah said nothing happened, the IDF is still on alert... so what's going on?

IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020
Late on Monday afternoon, plumes of smoke rose near Har Dov, and residents of Israeli communities all along the borders from the Mediterranean to the Hermon were ordered to remain at home.
The long-awaited Hezbollah response was unfolding.
Or was it?
According to the IDF, a terrorist attack by a cell of three to five Hezbollah operatives was thwarted after they crossed the Blue Line, several meters into sovereign Israeli territory, and soldiers opened fire on them.
The cell fled back into Lebanon without firing at the soldiers, and both sides claimed there were no casualties.
While IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said civilians could return to their normal routines, the military remains on high alert for future attacks.
If this was Hezbollah’s retaliation for the death of one of their operatives in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria, why hasn’t the IDF also returned to “normal?” Why are military vehicles still not allowed to travel on roads adjacent to the border, and why haven’t troops returned to their posts?
Is it possible that this was just Hezbollah testing the IDF?
The narrative pushed by the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen news channel is that Israel made up the whole incident. That troops are so on edge about an attack by the Lebanese terrorist army that they fired at what they thought were infiltrators – but in reality were just empty fields.
Hezbollah later released a statement saying that there had been no clash along the border and that the soldiers had fired on empty fields, making up the entire incident due to their “extreme fear” over a Hezbollah retaliation.
That’s a nice version if the group does not want an escalation with the Israeli military.
But if what the IDF says is correct, that a cell of Hezbollah operatives tried to attack soldiers on Mount Dov – an area where due to terrain there is no fence separating Israel and Lebanon – then maybe the group is trying to cover up a massive operational failure.
Let’s lay the cards on the table for a minute. Hezbollah lost an operative in an alleged Israeli airstrike and has vowed to avenge the death of any member killed by “Zionist aggression.” It has done so in the past – most notoriously last September, when the group fired three anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) toward IDF targets in northern Israel near the community of Avivim in retaliation for the killing of two operatives in Syria.
The IDF was preparing for a repeat of such a scenario this time. But instead of firing ATGMs, Hezbollah reportedly sent a cell to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
Who sends a cell to climb into Israeli territory during a heat wave unless it expects it to carry out a deadly attack?
And Mount Dov, as mentioned earlier, is a tense playground for Hezbollah and the IDF.
Just yesterday, UNIFIL soldiers shot in the air after shepherds refused to stop their truck, as requested. The incident, which allegedly occurred near the Lebanese village of al-Wazzani near the contested Shaba Farms, was caught on camera.
In May, a Syrian shepherd identified as Mohammed Noureddine Abdul Azim was shot by soldiers after he infiltrated into Israeli territory near Mount Dov. Azim was flown to Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, where he was treated for multiple gunshot wounds before being repatriated to Lebanon.
Just days before the May incident on Mount Dov, a senior IDF officer stationed in the area told The Jerusalem Post that many shepherds in the area are known to collect intelligence on troop movements.
Hezbollah denied there was a clash on the border on Monday. It released a statement saying that the retaliation for Syria was yet to come, as would retaliation for the homes in Lebanon that were damaged by IDF shells.
While the IDF said it had successfully thwarted the attack, the military and defense establishment are still on alert.
Hezbollah is saying one thing, the IDF the other. But the IDF must have the footage of the infiltrators crossing into Israeli territory.
So release the tapes and the IDF can show this failed attack by Hezbollah, and it can close the chapter on this latest round.