Missing Peace | missingpeace.eu | EN

Hezbollah attacks Israel, uses new anti-tank missile

By Missing Peace

This article first appeared at Western Journalism.com

Two destroyed IDF vehicles and the bodies of two IDF soldiers after Hezbo llah attack on Har DovTwo destroyed IDF vehicles and the bodies of two IDF soldiers after Hezbo llah attack on Har Dov

At noon Wednesday, Hezbollah launched an attack across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Fourth generation Kornet anti-tank missiles were fired at two IDF vehicles in the Har Dov area that were subsequently destroyed. This was the first time Hezbollah used this advanced anti-tank missile.

The IDF immediately responded with artillery fire on Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. After that, Hezbollah fired mortars on Israeli villages in the area of Mount Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed, and seven others were wounded critically. Several Israeli citizens were also lightly wounded by Hezbollah fire and were evacuated to Ziv Hospital in Safed.

The attacks today came after Hezbollah launched four rockets at the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Overnight, Israel responded with attacks on Hezbollah positions in Syria.

Hezbollah claimed that the attack on Israel was justified, and that it was an act of ‘legal resistance’ since the organization disputes Israeli sovereignty over the Har Dov area. In fact, this has been Hezbollah’s excuse for continuing its hostilities against the Jewish state after Israel withdrew fully from Lebanon in May 2000. The United Nations confirmed later that no Lebanese territory is occupied by Israel anymo

The current escalation with Hezbollah began on January 15th when the leader of the terrorist organization Hassan Nasrallah gave an interview threatening to invade Israel’s Galilee region that is adjacent to the Golan Heights. During the same interview, Nasrallah said that Israel would be surprised about Hezbollah’s new weaponry in the next confrontation.

That was followed by an outright provocation on Sunday, January 18th, when Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard deployed a convoy from the Hezbollah-controlled territory in Syria towards the Israeli border near Kuneitra. The Israeli Air Force launched an airstrike on the convoy, killing six Hezbollah commandants and six members of the IRGC, including a general.

As Western Journalism reported earlier this week, Iran now controls large swaths of territory in Syria and is involved in a new secret nuclear facility near Qusayr, Syria.

Following the deadly IAF attack on the Hezbollah, both Iran and Hezbollah vowed to take revenge and threatened Israel again with annihilation.

The Israeli army has remained in a state of high alert ever since and expected the Hezbollah attack. Nevertheless, Hezbollah succeeded to execute an operation that had the hallmarks of the attack on two IDF jeeps in July 2006, which led to the Second Lebanon War.

This time, however, both sides seem to have an interest in limiting the conflict. Hezbollah is bogged down in the Syrian civil war and also has financial problems. The Shiite organization also faces domestic problems and has lost a great deal of support amongst the Lebanese population because of its support for Syria’s dictator, el-Assad. The Lebanese news source Naharnet, for example, immediately condemned the attack on Israel and wrote on Twitter that Hezbollah’s role in the Golan does not serve Lebanon or Palestine, but Iran.

Israel went through a war with Hamas last summer and is in the midst of an election campaign. The country faces multiple problems, such as increasing Palestinian terrorism and political warfare by the Palestinian Authority that is meant to erode Israel’s position in the international community.

After the attack this morning, Israeli and Lebanese experts pointed out that the Hezbollah attack was meant to restore its deterrence versus Sunni Islamist groups such as the Islamic State. The IAF attack on the convoy near Kuneitra on January 18th was a humiliation for both Iran and Hezbollah. It could have given the Sunni Islamist groups the impression that Hezbollah is weak and that this would be a good moment to remove the group from power in Lebanon.

Israel has to retain its deterrence versus Hezbollah and Iran in light of the Iranian takeover of Syria and, more recently, Yemen, where last week Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the presidential palace in the capital of Sana’a. For this reason, Israel cannot allow Hezbollah to take control of the border area on the Golan Heights.

Sources in Netanyahu’s bureau were quoted as saying, “Iran is behind this heinous terrorist attack. The same Iran that the world powers are forming an agreement with, that would allow it to maintain its ability to acquire nuclear weapons capacity.”

“This is the same Iran that tried to build a terrorist infrastructure in the Golan Heights, similar to what it has in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen. This is the same Iran that supports terrorism around the globe,” the sources said.

Omri Ceren contributed to this report