Although Israel’s Sunni jihadist Hamas neighbors to the country’s southwest may take up more international headlines, it is Israel’s Shiite jihadist Hezbollah neighbors to the country’s Lebanese (and, of a more recent vintage, Syrian) north that many feel poses a greater long-term challenge to Israel’s national security interests. Hezbollah, after all, is a proxy of the terrorist Iranian regime and is exceedingly well-armed in terms of its missile and rocket arsenal. Consider this 2016 piece at The Tower bluntly entitled, “The New Hezbollah: Israel’s Next War Will Be A Godawful Mess”:
Hezbollah’s own preparations for its next war with Israel betray its intentions to once again act as a guerrilla force. Hezbollah has expanded and upgraded its already formidable underground tunnel network in south Lebanon. Replicating its strategy of using civilian cover, it has built up over 200 Shiite villages into fortified fighting zones, with rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, and command centers. Israel will be forced once again to choose between the unsavory options of striking the villages and killing civilians, or withholding fire. Despite rhetoric from the IDF brass that these areas will be considered targetable military bases, the Gideon Doctrine still acknowledges this as a real dilemma.
Now, The Times of Israel reports that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is warning that Hezbollah is still actively planning an invasion into Israel’s north — and, specifically, into the Sea of Galilee:
The new commander of the IDF’s Ground Forces said Thursday the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah was still planning to carry out a surprise invasion of northern Israel, despite the recent Israeli operation to uncover and destroy an extensive network of cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Iran-backed militia.
Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick was tapped to lead the military’s Ground Forces in February, amid increased criticism charging that Israeli troops were not prepared for war. His comments came less than four months after the IDF concluded its anti-tunnel operation along the Lebanese border.
“Hezbollah still has plans to invade the Galilee,” he told the Ynet news site in an interview, referring to entering Israeli territory through a cross-border tunnel network. “Of course we won’t allow that to happen, we will thwart these plans.”
The IDF general’s warning makes sense, from a timing perspective. The Daily Wire reported just last month on how Israeli intelligence unveiled recent Hezbollah activity in the Golan Heights region, which is adjacent to the Sea of Galilee. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time:
The U.S. charged Ali Mussa Daqduq with orchestrating the 2007 kidnapping and murder of five American soldiers in Iraq. But Iraq released him from custody in 2012 because of what officials said was lack of convincing evidence against him, despite the Obama administration pushing Baghdad to hold him accountable. There have been conflicting reports of the Hezbollah commander’s whereabouts since his release.
On Tuesday, Israeli intelligence officials said Mr. Daqduq resurfaced on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights about six months ago and began efforts to set up a network of the Iran-allied militant group on its borders—eventually to launch attacks into Israel.
Israeli officials said they hope exposing Mr. Daqduq’s activities would pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to get the group out of the area.