- Hezbollah Says Commanders Ready, Israel Orders More Forces to Border Region
by Ellen Francis, Ari Rabinovitch, https://www.reuters.com/
BEIRUT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Hezbollah said on Saturday its field commanders were ready to respond to an attack a week ago that the Lebanese group blamed on Israeli drones, after Israel’s military ordered extra forces to deploy near the border.
Tensions have heightened between the Iran-backed Lebanese movement and its old enemy Israel — who fought a month-long war with each other in 2006 — since two drones crashed in the southern suburbs of Beirut which are dominated by Hezbollah.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that all options were open to counter Israeli drones violating Lebanon’s sovereignty. Drones like the ones used in the Beirut attack last weekend “open the door to assassinations” if left unanswered, he said. “This matter will not be tolerated … Israel must pay the price.”
Israel has accused Iran of stepping up efforts to provide Hezbollah with precision-guided missile production facilities, a warning to Beirut that Israeli counter-strikes could escalate. Israel’s army said on Saturday that in the past week its “ground forces, air, navy and intelligence forces improved their preparedness for various scenarios in the northern command area.” It posted on Twitter footage of tanks and ground forces being deployed.
Without claiming responsibility for the drone attack, the Israeli military has published what it said were details about the Iranian campaign to boost Hezbollah’s missile capabilities.
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Precision-guided missiles could pose a counter-balance to Israel’s overwhelming military force in any future war, with the capacity to home in on and knock out core infrastructure sites.