Israel’s undeclared and clandestine war against the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah erupted again today as IAF planes hit several Hezbollah positions along the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Hezbollah denies that Israel attacked them. The IDF had no comment. But several Arab media outlets are reporting the strike occurred and residents of Baalbek, a strategic Lebanese hamlet on the Syrian border, are saying they saw the planes and heard the explosions.
Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shia group, denied the reports that Israel struck its positions and media outlets associated with the group said that no such strikes occurred.
Israel has not yet commented on the report and is unlikely to do so. According to usual protocol it does not disclose information about airstrikes in foreign countries.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prioritized the northern border as its greatest current threat, referring both to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iranian proxies on the Syrian border, which carries the danger of a united front against the Jewish state.
Hezbollah is said to have accumulated an arsenal of some 100,000 and 120,000 short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles targeting Israel.
Speaking in an interview with Reuters news agency last week, Deputy Leader of Hezbollah Sheikh Naim Qassem said that, despite rising tensions on the border, war with Israel was “not imminent.”
The choice of Baalbek as a target is significant. Baalbek is in the Bekaa Valley, a Hezbollah stronghold, and is a key staging area for Hezbollah militia fighting to preserve the regime of Bashar Assad.
Why doesn’t Hezbollah admit that Israeli planes bombed them? An election is coming up in Lebanon and it would make little political sense to admit the enemy just cleaned your clock. Hezbollah is promoted as an invincible foe of Israel. It wouldn’t do their electoral chances any good if they admit the Israelis exposed that notion as a sham.
Beyond that, if you don’t admit you’ve been attacked, it didn’t happen. And that’s the nature of this undeclared war between Israel and Hezbollah. Neither side wants to admit they are at war, but Israel is determined not to allow Hezbollah to set up a united front with the Syrians along the Israeli border. The attack on Baalbek was a reminder to Hezbollah not to get too comfortable and that they are being watched.