Middle East: Army: Israel launches air strikes in southern Lebanon after shelling

Middle East: Army: Israel launches air strikes in southern Lebanon after shelling
Middle East: Army: Israel launches air strikes in southern Lebanon after shelling

The USA is trying to prevent a military escalation. So far without success. In Israel, pressure is growing to resolve the conflict – with force if necessary. The news at a glance.

In response to renewed attacks on areas in northern Israel, the Israeli Air Force says it has attacked positions of the pro-Iranian Shiite militia Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli army announced late Friday evening that several targets, including military installations, had been attacked in the past few hours. According to the Israeli military, the pro-Iranian militia had previously fired 25 missiles and three drones at Israel. No one was injured. However, some of the rockets sparked forest fires. Israel’s army reportedly fired on several Hezbollah launch sites.

18 years after the last Lebanon war, fears are growing that war could break out again between Israel and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. In Israel, people are already stocking up on water and food, while in Lebanon there is mainly resignation.

Many people in the unstable and economically devastated country feel that they cannot endure another crisis. Lebanon currently has neither a president nor a fully functioning government.

The US portal “Politico” explained why the situation is so highly explosive, citing US intelligence information: If no agreement on a ceasefire is reached in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, which is allied with Hezbollah, there will probably be a large-scale military confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah in the coming weeks. The USA, as Israel’s most important ally, could also be drawn into such a war. It is also possible that Iran will intervene on Hezbollah’s side.

What does Hezbollah have to do with the Gaza war

The Gaza war was triggered by the massacres and hostage-taking by Palestinian terrorist organizations such as Hamas on October 7 in Israel. The Lebanese Hezbollah says it is acting in solidarity with Hamas. The “Lebanon Front” is a “support front,” as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly emphasized. It is part of the struggle that will decide the fate of Palestine, Lebanon and the region.

For almost nine months, there have been almost daily clashes between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militia. Recently, these have become more intense. “Israel is increasingly killing high-ranking Hezbollah military commanders,” wrote the US think tank Washington Institute. On Thursday evening, Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel – according to the Shiite militia, this was a response to the killing of one of its fighters earlier.

According to the think tank, the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia is advancing further and further south into Lebanon to launch rocket attacks on Israel. After the last war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, a UN resolution stipulated that Hezbollah fighters must stay 30 kilometers from the border with Israel behind the Litani River and are not allowed to stay south of this line.

Hezbollah has an arsenal of around 150,000 rockets. In the event of war, it could fire thousands of rockets at Israel every day. A hail of rockets could overwhelm Israel’s missile defenses.

According to the Washington Institute, expanding the conflict would be deadly and costly. But it admits: “Another war seems increasingly inevitable.”

US officials are increasingly concerned that Israel could increase air strikes and even launch a ground offensive in Lebanon in the coming weeks, US broadcaster NBC reported.

The Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” reported on Thursday that the United States had warned Israel that even a limited ground maneuver in the south of the neighboring country to push Hezbollah back from the border could trigger a large-scale war with the Shiite militia.

Pressure is growing in Israel

However, without a formal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Hezbollah is unlikely to give up completely. Indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel’s government, mediated by the United States, Egypt and Qatar, have reached an impasse.

While Hezbollah is in no hurry to make concessions, according to the Washington Institute, pressure is growing in Israel to allow northern residents to return at the start of the new school year at the end of September.

In towns on both sides of the border, around 150,000 people have left the combat zone or have been evacuated from there. Without a diplomatic solution, this could prompt Israel to step up its operations against Hezbollah in order to establish a buffer zone, the think tank writes. In towns on both sides of the border, the mutual shelling has caused severe destruction.

According to information from the Financial Times, Israel’s military has devastated large parts of southern Lebanon and created “a new reality.” Whole neighborhoods along the border have been razed to the ground and farmland destroyed, the newspaper reported on Thursday, citing satellite images, government statistics and conversations with local officials. Almost daily bombardment from the air and artillery fire have made much of the area five kilometers north of the Blue Line uninhabitable.

US de-escalation attempts have so far failed

The US is trying to prevent an escalation – so far without success. According to the Washington Institute, a plan by President Joe Biden’s government envisages Hezbollah withdrawing from the border and at the same time several thousand soldiers of the Lebanese army being deployed in the area. At the same time, the troops of the UN observer mission UNIFIL, which currently have little to oppose Hezbollah’s advance, are to be supported by additional observers from Germany, for example.

USA relocates troops

The United States says it is not preparing to evacuate its citizens from Lebanon. When asked about this with regard to American citizens and military personnel in the country, Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh answered “no.”

The US broadcaster NBC had previously reported, citing unnamed US sources, that the relocation of an additional US warship to the Mediterranean was related to preparations for a possible evacuation. Singh confirmed that the “USS Wasp” had been relocated to the region this week and that the US military’s Central Command (Eucom) had also informed about this. However, this was a deployment that had already been planned in advance.

Singh said she had seen the reports on the alleged evacuation scenarios, but pointed out that ships of this type are not only used for military-supported departures. “They are in the region to ensure stability and deter aggression.”

Palestinians: Eleven dead in attack on refugee tents near Rafah

According to Palestinian sources, at least eleven people were killed in an attack on a tent camp for refugees in the southern Gaza Strip that was attributed to Israel. Another 40 were injured, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, citing hospital doctors. The information could not initially be independently verified.

According to reports, tents in Al-Mawasi, west of the border town of Rafah, were hit in the attack. Many people fled there after the Israeli military began its offensive in the refugee-filled town on the border with Egypt in early May. The Israeli army had declared parts of Al-Mawasi a “safe zone.”

When asked, the Israeli army stated that it had no knowledge of an attack by Israeli troops in Al-Mawasi.

Source: Stern

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts