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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Israel plans to invade Lebanon

The Israeli Defense Force says it wants to drive the Hezbollah militant group out of the southern part of the country

The Israeli military has developed plans to invade neighboring Lebanon with the intent to push back the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which has been launching cross-border attacks on Israel in recent weeks, The Times and Newsweek reported on Monday, citing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Jonathan Conricus.

Israel and Hezbollah have seen increasing exchanges of fire since the outbreak of the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict in October when Hamas fighters in Gaza launched a surprise assault on Israeli territories. That attack left some 1,200 people dead and saw the kidnapping of over 200 hostages. Israel’s ruthless bombing campaign in Gaza since then has killed more than 18,700 people, according to local health officials.

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The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has come out in support of Hamas. However, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said they will not launch a major offensive against Israel unless it was provoked or Hamas was on the verge of defeat.

Nevertheless, the IDF has decided that it cannot accept the looming threat posed by Hezbollah and has developed a plan to invade southern Lebanon to push the militant group up north to the Litani River, according to The Times.

Israel is concerned that Hezbollah could potentially launch an October 7-style attack in the north of Israel, according to a senior IDF officer who spoke with The Times. The Israeli doctrine is, therefore, to “take the war to the other side,” he said.

The IDF “has approved plans and defined schedules for readiness,” Conricus said, according to the paper.

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Newsweek similarly reported that Cornicus told journalists that while there is “a window of opportunity for peace,” Israeli forces are “prepared” to keep Israeli citizens safe.

“Just as we are now dismantling Hamas in Gaza and going about making sure that there won’t be a military threat against Israelis living in southern Israel, we will do the same thing if needed against Hezbollah,” he reportedly said.

Speaking to RT in an exclusive interview last week, Hezbollah spokesman Haji Mohammad Afif said it plans to “maintain the current pace of the war,” which it described as one of “support and solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

The Israeli government has not yet publicly commented on the possibility of launching a military offensive. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Beirut would be turned “into Gaza” if Hezbollah started an all-out war against the IDF.