Monday, May 24, 2021

Israel's Threat From The North:

Hezbollah deputy says won't discuss who fired rockets from Lebanon at Israel

The deputy leader of the Hezbollah terrorist group refused to say on Saturday who was behind the firing of numerous rockets from Lebanon at Israel during the recent fighting in Gaza between the IDF and Hamas.
"We're not interested in deliberating the question of who fired the rockets from southern Lebanon and if it was right to launch them," said Naim Qassem in a radio interview.

He added that "Hezbollah was in daily contact with the resistance commanders and fighters in Palestine as part of the organization's position of supporting the Palestinian resistance with all capabilities."

As a reminder, the assessment in Israel is that Palestinian factions in Lebanon were behind the rocket fire, but that it was unlikely that terrorists in southern Lebanon would be able to fire rockets of such long ranges without at least the tacit approval of the Iran-backed militia, which maintains a tight degree of control over southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah's shadow loomed large during Israel's 11-day battle with Hamas, with the possibility it could unleash its arsenal of missiles – far more powerful than Hamas' – in support of the Palestinians.

Instead, Hezbollah stayed on the sidelines.

For Israel, the Iranian-backed group in Lebanon remains its toughest and most immediate security challenge.

"Israel needs to manage the conflict in Gaza with a very open eye toward what is happening in the north, because the north is a much more important arena than Gaza," said Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli military intelligence chief who currently heads the Institute for National Security Studies.

Speaking at a rally in south Beirut last week, senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine bragged about the group's firepower, which he said has multiplied many times since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, but suggested the time has not come for Hezbollah to get involved.

"We in Hezbollah look to the day where we will fight together, with you, side by side and shoulder to shoulder, on all fronts to extract this cancerous cell," he said, addressing Palestinians and referring to Israel's presence in the Arab world. "This day is coming, it's inevitable."

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