Hezbollah-Israel tensions
image via flickr

Hezbollah-Israel tensions soared on Sunday after it fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli in retaliation for last week’s Israeli drone attacks in its offices in Beirut. The Israeli army said that some targets, referring to Hezbollah’s attacks, were hit.

Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, sympathetic to Hassan Nassrallah-led Hezbollah group, reported that the Hezbollah attack has destroyed an Israeli military vehicle, killing and wounding those inside. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) returned the fire at the source of the strike in Southern Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister, a one-time royal prisoner in Saudi Arabia, called on the French President Emmanuel Macron and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “intervene immediately” to defuse tensions that could otherwise replicate the devastations of 2006 war.

Earlier the Lebanese army had claimed that Israel violated its airspace by sending a drone which dropped an incendiary material that caused a fire in the pine forest by its border. Last week the tension grew when an explosion rocked Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, which was the result of an Israeli drone attack. One of the two drone, supposedly on their suicidal mission, exploded near Hezbollah’s media center, damaging the building while the other failed to detonate, according to Hezbollah’s spokesman.

The Hezbollah’s media wing, Hezbollah Watch, released the pictures online showing debris resembling a quad-copter similar to drones used by Israel in Gaza border clashes.

Fortunately, there have been no casualties on either side despite heavy explosive fire exchanges, the situation is uncertain and precarious. However, Hezbollah and Israel, the bitter enemies who had fought a monthlong war in 2006 have hinted their unwillingness to repeat the hostilities amounting to a war.

“I rule out that the atmosphere is one of war, it is one of a response to an attack,” said Sheikh Naim Qassem of Hezbollah in a TV interview on Tuesday night.

On the other side, the highest official response from Israel came from its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that IDF responded “with 100 shells, aerial fire and various measures.”

A day before the Hezbollah attack on Israel, its leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened a retaliation on Saturday referring to the last week’s drone attacks. He said that Israel, “must pay a price.”

The United Nations Peacekeeping force deployed in Southern Lebanon has been in contact with both Israel and Lebanon in order to diffuse tensions. On the developments that followed the initial offensive exchanges by both sides, the UN spokesman Andrea Teneti on late Sunday said, “Calm has returned in the area.”

Earlier this week the United Nations Security Council had warned both sides against violating the terms of UN resolutions and said, Hezbollah-Israel tensions “could lead to a new conflict that none of the parties or region can afford.” The French authorities also said that they are in contact with both parties to mediate the tensions.

According to Haaretz, the Israeli President, who is also the defense minister of the country, realigned the 2019 intelligence assessment with regard to security of Israel. Over the past few years, the Hezbollah factor ranked third as a threat for the Jewish state. The Hezbollah’s missile project has upgraded to the second biggest security challenge for the Israel recently now.

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