IDF ups alert in Northern Command over concerns of Hezbollah terror attack

The Lebanese terror group has warned it will revenge the death of one of its fighters killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria on Monday

IDF strengthens the Northern Command over concerns of Hezbollah terror attack (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi toured northern Israel on Saturday, less than a day after the military upped its alert in the northern command out of concern of an attack by Hezbollah following threats by the terrorist group over the death of one of its fighters.
Kochavi, who spent the evening at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv, met with troops from Division 91 (Galilee Division) along with the Head of the Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Amir Baram, the Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heyman and Division 91 Commander Brig.-Gen. Shlomi Binder.
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
“The Chief of Staff heard an intelligence review, held a situational assessment and reviewed the operation of troops with various means,” the IDF said in a statement.
Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, who also took part in the situation assessment, instructed the IDF to continue to increase readiness in the north and to use the necessary measures in order to prevent any violation of Israeli sovereignty.
According to a statement released by his office, Gantz warned that Lebanon and Syria would “bear direct responsibility for any action taken from their territory.”
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
On Friday, following a situational assessment and in accordance with the Northern Command’s defense plan, the military said it will be making changes to troop deployment by reinforcing units and artillery batteries, as well as enhancing field intelligence in the area “with the goal of strengthening defenses along the northern border.”
The military deployed troops to Division 91 and 210 Bashan Division along with artillery and intelligence troops. Iron Dome missile defense batteries were also on alert as well as Israel Air Force jets.
The military also moved some troops deeper into Israel out of their positions directly along the border, so that they would not be a target for Hezbollah.
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The moves are part of the military’s strengthening of power and readiness in anticipation of any retaliation by the Lebanese Shi’ite terror group, which it expects against IDF troops or a military installation along the border, but not civilians.
Hezbollah has pledged in the past to retaliate for any fighter that is killed by alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria and the IDF on Friday warned Beirut that it “holds the Lebanese government responsible for all actions emanating from Lebanon.”
On Friday morning explosions were heard along the border with Syria, with shrapnel apparently damaging a nearby Israeli civilian car and building near the Druze town of Majdal Shams. It is unclear whether the explosions were caused by a mortar or anti-aircraft fire from Syrian territory.
The IDF said it was looking into the nature of the explosions and that while there were no injuries, the military viewed the incident as severe.
Later that night, IAF attack helicopters struck several Syrian Arab Army targets, including observation posts and intelligence facilities in bases near the town of Quneitra. According to Syrian media, two military personnel were wounded in the strikes.
“The IDF sees the Syrian regime as responsible for the fire earlier today and will continue to act with determination, retaliating for every violation of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the military said in a statement.
Also on Friday,. Kochavi met with ‪US Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who landed in Israel to discuss Iran and its proxies like Hezbollah, and stressed that the IDF will continue to defend the State of Israel.
“We are preparing for a variety of scenarios and will act to the extent necessary to remove any threat that endangers the sovereignty of Israel or its citizens,” he said.
Following threats by the group’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah that the entire northern front is open for retaliation, the IDF also decided to close several roads along the Lebanese and Syrian borders to military vehicles beginning Friday at 8:00 p.m.
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The roads remained open for civilian cars along with tourist sites.
While there is no current restriction on civilian movement, there is the possibility that farmers will be restricted in a limited number of zones near the fence. In addition, access roads to a number of communities where the military has a presence and are exposed to attack will be blocked and alternative routes will be opened for residents to enter.
Baram, who met with the heads of regional councils in the North earlier in the day, said that the military is “making every effort” to make sure the daily routine of residents will not be disrupted.
“Our main task even these days is to maintain the security of northern residents,” he said, adding that the military intends to allow tourism and agriculture to continue and that it “will continue to prepare as needed to defend [the area] and for operational activities as necessary.”
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
On Thursday the military deployed reinforcements – one battalion and a number of additional troops – to the Northern Command’s Galilee Division due to the heightened tensions.
Earlier in the week, Hezbollah announced 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 and killed several Iranian and Syrian personnel as well as Hezbollah member 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, and statements attributed to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah suggested that Israel should be wary of an attack.
IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)IDF prepares for possible Hezbollah attack in northern Israel, July 2020 (Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Last week Lt.-Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the Head of the US Central Command, warned the group against attacking Israel in light of pressures 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.
While several Hezbollah terrorists have been killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria over the past year, it was the first time that the group confirmed the death of one since August when two militants and an Iranian were killed in an IAF strike targeting an IRGC cell, which Israel claimed was about to launch armed drones against targets in northern Israel.
Following the strike, the IDF had raised its alert expecting a limited response against military targets. A week later, Hezbollah fired three anti-tank guided missiles towards an IDF post and military ambulance near the towns of Avivim and Yiron in northern Israel.
There were no casualties in the incident. Israel responded by firing over 100 artillery shells towards targets in south Lebanon including an airstrike on the Hezbollah cell which carried out the attack.