The Israel Defense Forces further stepped up its defenses along the country’s northern borders on Friday, the army said, out of concern the Hezbollah terror group may carry out an attack against military targets along the frontier and warned Beirut it would bear responsibility for any possible Hezbollah strike.
Tensions were further heightened after a blast along the border Friday morning sent shrapnel into an Israeli Druze town.
“In light of a situational assessment in the IDF and in accordance with the Northern Command’s defense plan, the IDF’s deployment will change in both the military and civilian arena with the goal of strengthening defenses along the northern border,” the IDF said in a statement.
These moves came after Hezbollah accused Israel of killing one of its fighters in an airstrike outside Damascus on Monday night, which was widely attributed to the IDF. Israel has refused to comment on the matter, keeping its policy of ambiguity regarding its operations against Iran and its proxies in Syria.
In the past, Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate to losses of its soldiers in Syria with attacks on Israel. This was the case in September, when the terror group fired three anti-tank guided missiles at Israeli military targets along the Lebanese border, narrowly missing an IDF armored ambulance with five soldiers inside, after the IDF killed two of its fighters in Syria the month before.
In a tacit threat, the IDF preemptively warned Beirut that it sees the state of Lebanon as “responsible for all actions emanating from Lebanon.”
Earlier on Friday, explosions were also heard along the Syrian border, with shrapnel striking a home and a car on the Israeli side in the nearby Druze town of Majdal Shams, causing light damage. It was not immediately clear what caused the blasts, though the leading assessments were that they were the results of either anti-aircraft fire toward an IDF observation balloon or an artillery shell fired from Syria toward Israel.
As a result of these growing tensions, the IDF Northern Command, Military Intelligence and the Israeli Air Force have been on high alert in recent days.
“The IDF is concentrating its efforts in its mission to defend northern residents and is on high alert to all scenarios against the actions of the enemy, while minimally impacting the routine of civilian life.
Beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday night, roadblocks will be installed along a number of highways to prevent military vehicles vulnerable to attack from anti-tank guided missiles fired from either Lebanon or Syria, from driving on certain roads.Entrances to some communities where the military maintains a presence that are exposed to attack will also be blocked for IDF vehicles. As the military assessed that Hezbollah planned to attack only IDF targets, civilian vehicles will be able to travel freely throughout the area.
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