October 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Terror on Northern Border Threatens to Open New Front 

October 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Terror on Northern Border Threatens to Open New Front 

Latest Developments 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is responding with artillery fire to rockets launched at Israel from Lebanon on October 9. While no Israeli injuries were reported, tensions on Israel’s northern border continue to rise, threatening to open a new front in Israel’s war against Iran-backed terror groups. Thus far, the IDF has focused primarily on clearing southern Israel of Hamas terrorists and striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. 

Earlier in the day, several Israeli soldiers were wounded, with some in serious condition, after clashes with terrorist infiltrators on Israel’s border with Lebanon. Several terrorists had crossed the security fence near the town of Arab al-Aramshe in the Western Galilee. The IDF killed two terrorists while others returned to Lebanon. Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed terrorist group, claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Expert Analysis 

“The regime in Iran is pushing Hezbollah and its other terror proxies to join the war against Israel. Evidence is mounting that Tehran directed, financed, trained, and weaponized Hamas to attack Israel. Now, there is growing concern that Tehran is trying to unleash its other proxies in Lebanon — Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad — to open up a second front. U.S. support is critical to give Israel all the time and space it needs to inflict massive damage on these Iran-backed terror groups.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO 

“The north is heating up. It’s a significant concern for Israel and the United States. A war with the Iran-backed Hezbollah would be far more bitter than anything that has occurred between Israel and Hamas in recent years. Hezbollah is better armed and trained. It has the potential to inflict serious damage upon Israel. But the same can be said of Israel’s ability to respond. Given its economic and political situation, Lebanon can ill afford such a war.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research 

Israel’s Response to Infiltration 

The IDF responded to the infiltration with airstrikes on terrorist positions in Lebanon, resulting in three Hezbollah members’ deaths. The IDF’s Home Front Command ordered residents of 28 towns in northern Israel close to the Lebanese border to remain in shelters until further notice. Later that day, terrorists launched two mortar shells towards Israeli territory, causing sirens to sound. One of the mortars fell in Lebanese territory, while the other landed in an open area inside Israel. The IDF again responded by striking targets in Lebanese territory using helicopter gunships.  

The infiltration comes a day after Israeli forces responded to rocket and mortar fire toward Israel’s Mount Dov region by striking Hezbollah targets. Senior Israeli officials warn that Iran is pushing Hezbollah to join the war. 

Coordination with Iran 

Israeli officials have publicly expressed concern that Iran is coordinating a plan to surround Israel with fire from its numerous terrorist proxies in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. In September, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed that Iran was building an airport in Lebanon a mere 12 miles from the Israeli border. Since the May 2021 Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas, evidence has surfaced indicating that Iran has facilitated the establishment of a joint operations room in Lebanon to coordinate efforts between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-backed terror organizations Hezbollah and Hamas. 

Terrorist Buildup in Lebanon 

Of all the Palestinian terrorist groups, Hezbollah has the closest relationship with its backer, Iran, as both Hezbollah and Iran follow Shiite Islam, whereas others, like Hamas, are predominantly Sunni. Iran provides Hezbollah with a reported $700 million annually in addition to arms, training, and assistance with strategy. Hezbollah fighters have fought to support Iran-backed Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in Syria’s decade-long civil war. 

The United Nations created a demilitarized zone in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Lebanon War — the last major conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah. The UN sent troops to secure an area in southern Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNIFIL’s presence, however, has not stopped Hezbollah’s rearmament or provocations toward Israel.  

UNIFIL has also failed to fulfill its mandate to keep southern Lebanon free of weapons. Hezbollah has positioned an estimated 150,000 rockets in southern Lebanon, most of which are concealed inside civilian infrastructure. Hezbollah also possesses drones and precision-guided missiles (PGM) that can change course during flight and hit within 10 meters of their intended target. 

Attacks on Israel Part of Iran’s Ring of Fire Strategy,” FDD Flash Brief 

IDF Responds to Hezbollah Mortar Fire on Lebanese Border,” FDD Flash Brief 

Iran Building Airport in Lebanon Just Miles from Israeli Border,” FDD Flash Brief 


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Jihadism Lebanon