IDF beefs up Northern Command over tensions with Hezbollah

One battalion and additional troops were deployed after a Hezbollah member was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria.

IDF troops in action near the Gaza Strip (photo credit: IDF)
IDF troops in action near the Gaza Strip
(photo credit: IDF)
The IDF reinforced the Northern Command with additional infantry troops on Thursday following a situational assessment as tensions with Hezbollah rose following the death of one of its fighters in Syria.
“In light of a situational assessment that was held in the IDF, it was decided to send a pinpoint reinforcement of infantry troops to the Northern Command,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
The reinforcements, one battalion and a number of additional troops, were deployed to the Northern Command’s Galilee Division amid heightened tensions following the announcement by Lebanon's Hezbollah that one of its members was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus on Monday night.
The strike targeted several sites around the capital including a major ammunition depot, killing several Iranian and Syrian personnel as well as Hezbollah militant Ali Kamel Mohsen.
Following the alleged Israeli strikes on Monday, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported that Hezbollah had raised its alert level “to monitor activities” of IDF soldiers along the border between the two countries, as well as statements attributed to Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah suggested that Israel should be wary of an attack.
While several Hezbollah members have been killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria over the past year, it was the first time that Hezbollah confirmed the death of one of them since August when two terrorists and an Iranian were killed in an IAF strike targeting an IRGC cell that Israel said was on its way to launch armed drones to attack targets in northern Israel.
Following the strike, the IDF had raised its alert, expecting a limited response against military targets.
The IDF reinforced the Northern Command with artillery and Iron Dome missile-defense batteries, and canceled leave for combat soldiers in the area. The IDF also closed the airspace to civilian flights, closing the civilian airport in Kiryat Shmona and put the Navy on high alert for a response attack by the terror group.
A week later, Hezbollah fired three anti-tank guided missiles towards an IDF post and military ambulance near the towns of Avivim and Yir’on in northern Israel. While there were no casualties in the incident, over 100 artillery shells were fired towards targets in south Lebanon, including an airstrike on the Hezbollah cell which carried out the attack.
Last week, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Head of the US Central Command, warned against the group attacking Israel in light of pressures that it is facing due to the economic crisis in Lebanon, saying that it wouldn’t end well.
“I think it would be a great mistake for Hezbollah  to try to carry out operations against Israel.  I can’t see that having a good ending,” he told journalists in a telephone briefing.