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Israeli Military Approves Plan For Offensive Inside Lebanon

Israeli Defense Forces at Hazor Air Force Base, Israel. (MATTY STERN/U.S EMBASSY TEL AVIV)
June 19, 2024

The Israeli military has finalized a plan for a military offensive across its northern border with Lebanon, raising the risks of an expanding regional conflict.

Israeli troops have clashed with Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border for months, while much of the Israeli military’s attention has been focused in the south on the military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and unrest in the West Bank.

On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced leaders within its Northern Command had approved new operational plans to address these ongoing border clashes.

“As part of the situational assessment, operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were approved and validated, and decisions were taken on the continuation of increasing the readiness of troops in the field,” the IDF said in a social post on June 18.

The IDF statement came shortly after Hezbollah reportedly released footage showing a drone’s-eye view of civilian-populated areas near the northern Israeli port city of Haifa.

The Israeli government has already evacuated several of its northern border communities amid the ongoing cross-border skirmishes with Hezbollah.

Should the IDF press the offensive across its northern border, it would risk expanding what has to this point been a somewhat limited border skirmish into a more expansive war.

The ongoing fighting throughout the Gaza Strip has already shown signs of exciting a broader regional conflict. There was an uptick in drone and rocket attacks targeting U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria in the months after the Gaza conflict began. Three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and around 40 more U.S. personnel were injured when an explosive-laden drone fly inside the Tower 22 outpost in the tri-borders region of Jordan and detonated.

The Houthis, a Zaidi Shiite Islamic faction that has fought in an internal conflict inside Yemen for more than a decade, has also turned its attention toward the ongoing Gaza Conflict. The Yemeni faction has claimed solidarity with the Palestinian people inside Gaza and has launched drones and missiles towards Israel and struck several commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea as a means of disrupting merchant traffic they believe to be connected to Israel.

Israel also engaged in a limited exchange of fire with Iran in April. The Iranian government launched a wave of drones and missiles toward Israel in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike that killed Iranian military officers at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1. The U.S. military, working in coordination with other regional partners, helped shoot down many of these Iranian drones and missiles heading toward Israel on April 13.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged President Joe Biden’s administration to remove bottlenecks slowing U.S. weapons shipments to Israel and send the necessary “tools” to quickly bring Israel’s active armed conflicts to a close.

This article was originally published by FreeBase News and is reprinted with permission.