October 11, 2023 | Flash Brief

False Alarm of Hezbollah Aircraft Infiltration Underlines Israeli Concern of Multi-Front War

October 11, 2023 | Flash Brief

False Alarm of Hezbollah Aircraft Infiltration Underlines Israeli Concern of Multi-Front War

Latest Developments

Reports of aircraft infiltration and rocket fire on Israel’s northern border on October 11 turned out to be a false alarm caused by Israel’s automated threat detection system. The system reported dozens of unknown aircraft infiltrations in every town in northern Israel, from its border with Lebanon south to Haifa and just north of the West Bank. The urgency was compounded by another false alarm from Home Front Command calling on all of Israel to shelter in place. Many Israelis believed that the alarms marked the beginning of a multi-front war, a very realistic prospect given Hezbollah’s massive arsenal and determination to destroy the Jewish state.  

Earlier in the day, Hezbollah said that it did not fear the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which the Biden administration sent to the region to deter other actors from entering the war. Hezbollah said that it considers “the United States a full partner” with Israel and holds the United States accountable for actions against the Palestinians.

Expert Analysis

“There are growing concerns about Iran directing Hezbollah to open another front against Israel. Hezbollah has made it clear that it sees the United States as a ‘full partner’ with Israel and that it doesn’t fear American power. President Biden, who spoke eloquently about his horror at the massacre of Israelis by Hamas and his ‘unwavering’ commitment to Israeli security, needs to explicitly warn Khamenei that he will pay a severe price if he unleashes Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border. Those warnings need to be combined with more than the entry of U.S. aircraft carriers but the use of American military power against Hezbollah and regime targets. Otherwise, Iran will become even more directly involved and Washington may be facing a full-blown regional war.”Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“This is ultimately Iran’s war. Hezbollah, like Hamas, is an Iranian subsidiary that uses human shields, only its arsenal of precision guided munitions is larger and more lethal. If an Iranian-backed invasion of Israel from the north emerges, Israel will be justified in using overwhelming force in Lebanon and Syria. The United States should do its part to defend Israel from ballistic missile counterstrikes, lock down all Iranian funds, and support whatever else Israel deems necessary for its survival.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Earlier Clashes

Earlier in the day, Israel conducted air strikes against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon following the Iran-backed group’s launch of a guided anti-tank missile at Israeli forces near the town of Arab al-Aramshe on Israel’s northern border. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the anti-tank missile attack and said it retaliated for the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) killing of three Hezbollah operatives in strikes following a Palestinian terrorist incursion in the same area. The group claimed the missile caused “a large number of confirmed casualties,” but the IDF has not reported any injuries or damage.

Hezbollah Threat

The Lebanon-based organization has a closer relationship with the regime in Tehran than other Palestinian terrorist proxies. Iran provides Hezbollah with a reported $700 million annually in addition to arms, training, and assistance with strategy. Since its last major conflict with Israel in 2006, Hezbollah has amassed a significant and highly advanced arsenal along Israel’s northern border.

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.

Ring of Fire

Iran’s strategy against Israel has entailed building up its 19 terrorist proxies surrounding Israel for a coordinated attack on multiple fronts, including the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has helped Hamas and Hezbollah coordinate its proxies’ activities using a joint operations room in Lebanon.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 8 that Iranian security officials gave the greenlight for Hamas’ assault on Israel during an October 2 meeting in Beirut. The report claims that the operation’s particulars were fine-tuned over the course of several meetings in Beirut that were convened by IRGC officers and representatives from four Iran-supported factions, including Hamas and Hezbollah. 

Iran-Backed Terror on Northern Border Threatens to Open New Front,” FDD Flash Brief

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

PGMs: Iran’s Precision-Guided Munitions Project in the Shadow of a Nuclear Deal,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz

In Support of Israel, U.S. Sends Aircraft Carrier Strike Group to Eastern Mediterranean,” FDD Flash Brief


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Israel at War