Tensions on Israel’s northern front continue to mount, as the country faces unexpected threats along its southern front.
Escalation on the northern front began on May 21, when Hezbollah held a military exercise in southern Lebanon. The group showcased heavy weapons, including multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles, man-portable air-defense systems and drones, during the exercise.
On May 23, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded by dropping leaflets over southern Lebanon warning people against approaching the frontline.
Later on May 25, Israeli troops downed a small quadcopter drone that was likely launched by Hezbollah after it crossed the frontline. On the same day, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened Israel with a “grand war” during a televised speech.
On May 28, escalation spread to the front with Syria when a series of Israeli strikes hit positions in the outskirts of the capital, Damascus. The targeted positions were allegedly held by Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The next day, May 29, the IDF launched a large-scale two-week-long drill across the country, simulating a potential multi-front war. Emergency instructions in case war breaks out on the front with Hezbollah were distributed to cities and settlements in northern Israel.
On May 31, the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, which allied to Hezbollah, said that five of its fighters were killed in eastern Lebanon, near the border with Syria, in a blast caused by an Israeli strike. Later however, news sources close to Hezbollah said that the blast was the result of an accidental self-detonation.
On June 1, leaflets with warning to the IDF were dropped over the occupied part of Lebanon’s Chebaa farms. This was likely Hezbollah’s response to recent provocations by Israel.
The IDF faced an unexpected security incident on the southern front on June 3, when an Egyptian policeman infiltrated the border and killed three Israeli soldiers.
Two soldiers, a male and a female, were shot dead at their border post, and the third during an exchange of fire with the attacker in the area of the Paran Regional Brigade. The attacker was also killed in the clash.
The Egyptian military said that the policeman was pursuing drug smugglers. However, Arab media reports speculated that he carried out the attack on his own for ideological reasons. The attack was seen as a response to the recent Israeli crackdown on Palestinians in Jerusalem city and the West Bank as well as to the IDF’s last operation against the Gaza Strip.
The recent developments show that Israel’s northern and southern fronts are far from being stable. The situation is especially tense on the front with Lebanon, where Tel Aviv’s attempts to mount pressure on Hezbollah could soon lead to a confrontation.
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