Why the Conflict on Israel’s Northern Border Is Growing More Intense

Last night, Hizballah fired a barrage of rockets into the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmonah, which sits close to the Lebanese border. No one was harmed, but a rocket attack on the same town on Tuesday left two people seriously injured. On Wednesday, a more alarming barrage from Lebanon hit Safed, which lies much further from the border, leaving one dead and eight wounded. In response to that attack, Israel carried out extensive airstrikes on Hizballah positions in Lebanon on Wednesday and Thursday, which Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described as an increase of “one level out of ten” over the intensity of previous IDF missions.

Notable also is a speech that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed terrorist group, delivered on Tuesday, in which he stated that attacks on Israel will only stop “when the shooting stops in Gaza,” and dismissing American and French diplomatic efforts to diffuse the situation. Eyal Zisser and Shaked Sadeh write:

In the 130 days of fighting, the IDF gained control over large parts of Gaza, weakened Hamas’s military power, and is now approaching Rafah, Hamas’s last stronghold. This is an uncomfortable reality for Nasrallah, who finds himself under a harsh spotlight in the Arab world, as many accuse him of not doing enough for Gaza. After all, he could have launched an all-out campaign against Israel, [even employing his ground forces].

Nasrallah’s speech was not new or very truthful. . . . Nasrallah also did not tell his listeners about the heavy blows the IDF struck against Hizballah, even though [the organization insists] on reporting the casualties in its ranks almost every evening.

For the first time, the ball is no longer in Nasrallah’s court, but in Israel’s, as it is the one to decide whether it wants to add and intensify its efforts in Gaza and maintain the conflict in Lebanon with a small fire, or perhaps turn its attention to escalation on the northern border as well. Nasrallah knows this and all he can do is try to calm his supporters and try to intimidate the Israelis so they won’t even consider going for a full-scale war against Hizballah.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security