Hezbollah has reportedly deployed its forces on the Lebanon-Israel border, The Daily Beast reported over the weekend, linking the move by the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group to the rising tensions in the Persian Gulf.
According to the report, while the majority of deployment has taken place on the Lebanese side of the border, Hezbollah has also bolstered its forces on the Syrian Golan Heights, bordering Israel.
A Hezbollah commander who The Daily Beast identified only as “Samir,” said the group was feeling the bite of the sanctions the US has imposed on Iran, which have cut into Hezbollah’s budget.
Hezbollah is “ready to initiate hostilities – if and when Tehran deems that necessary. The sanctions now have us preparing for dealing with the Israeli front. … We will fire the first shot this time,” he said.
The report noted that “Samir” was in charge of 800 fighters on Lebanon’s border with Israel.
He further boasted that Hezbollah has new drone capabilities and new anti-aircraft and anti-naval weapons acquired in Syria alongside a more seasoned fighting force.
Israeli military intelligence pegs Hezbollah’s missile arsenal at 150,000, placing all of Israel within range.
“Our wish before the war in Syria was to go and open a front in the Golan but [the Syrian Government] set a red line,” he said, referring to the limitations Syrian President Bashar Assad imposed on Hezbollah’s activities in Syria prior to the onset of the 2011 civil war.
“Now there are no red lines,” he said.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz commented on the report, saying that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah “knows well that any threat to Israel will meet a forceful response. He has to understand that this time, he won’t be able to make it back to the bunker.”
Nasrallah has been in hiding since the 2006 Second Lebanon War and is believed to be living in a bunker from which he rarely emerges.