IDF approves ‘operational plans for offensive in Lebanon’

12:12 21.06.2024 •

Israeli officials say Tel Aviv is preparing for an all-out war in Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah. Washington is concerned such a conflict would drag in the US, and the White House is attempting to prevent the hostilities from expanding.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) posted astatement saying that top commanders had signed off on battle plans for an offensive in Lebanon. “The Commanding Officer of the Northern Command and the Head of the Operations Directorate approved operational plans,” the IDF wrote. “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.”

Following the Hamas attack on October 7, the IDF began tit-for-tat raids along the Israel-Lebanon border. As the conflict has ground on, both sides have escalated their operations, with Israel carrying out assassinations and strikes deeper inside Lebanon in recent weeks. Hezbollah has responded by launching larger missile volleys at Israel.

US officials said the increased fighting has the White House concerned Israel will drag the US into a wider war in the Middle East. Washington dispatched the deputy assistant to President Biden, Amos Hochstein, to Israel and Lebanon to try to quell the tensions.

However, Hochstein apparently failed to find any practical solution to the violence that has killed nearly 500 in Lebanon and 26 in Israel in recent months. The US official suggested that once a ceasefire is achieved in Gaza, then fighting would fizzle out on Israel’s northern border.

President Biden admitted last week that a ceasefire deal in Gaza is unlikely anytime soon. Additionally, a senior Israeli official told the Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the IDF plans to continue operations in Gaza after Rafah is destroyed.

Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, said that Tel Aviv was near to a decision to go to war, warning that the conflict would destroy Hezbollah but also cause destruction in Lebanon and Israel. “We are very close to the moment of decision to change the rules against Hezbollah and Lebanon. In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely hit,” he posted on X. “The State of Israel will pay a price on the front and home fronts, but with a strong and united nation, and the full power of the IDF, we will restore security to the residents of the north.”

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (photo) underlined in a televised speech the substantial role played by the Lebanese support front in the war on Gaza in the face of the Israeli occupation.

“The enemy knows well that we have prepared ourselves for the worst days and knows what awaits it, which is why it has been deterred for the past 8-9 months,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. He emphasized that no location within occupied Palestine was safe from Hezbollah’s missiles and drones. “The enemy knows that there will be no place safe from our missiles and drones, and [our attacks] will not consist of random bombing.”

Nasrallah claimed that Hezbollah possessed a comprehensive and real target bank with the capability to reach all targets, destabilizing the foundation of the Israeli occupation. He also warned that “the enemy knows that what awaits it in the Mediterranean Sea is also very significant.”

“The enemy knows it must expect us on land, in the air, and at sea, and if war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules, or limits,” he declared.

The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has threatened war against Cyprus if it allows Israel to launch military operations from its territory.

Hassan Nasrallah warned Cyprus in a televised address that allowing Israeli forces to use its military infrastructure to target Hezbollah would be considered an act of war.

“Opening Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war,” Nasrallah said.

He added that Hezbollah would fight with “no rules” and “no ceilings” if a broader regional conflict were to erupt.

Cyprus is around 250 kilometers from the Lebanese coastline.

Nicosia and Tel Aviv have stepped up defense cooperation in recent years, conducting joint military exercises and signing a raft of arms procurement agreements. Cyprus is not a member of NATO.


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