October 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Tensions Escalate Along Lebanese Border as Israel Evacuates 28 Communities 

October 16, 2023 | Flash Brief

Tensions Escalate Along Lebanese Border as Israel Evacuates 28 Communities 

Latest Developments 

Israel on October 16 ordered 28 Israeli communities within one-and-a-half miles of the Lebanese border to evacuate, including an Alawite Arab and a Bedouin community. The evacuation comes after multiple attempts by terrorists to infiltrate Israel’s northern border. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Ministry of Defense, the residents of the 28 communities will receive housing in coordination with Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority.  

The evacuation follows a marked escalation in tensions on October 15, when Hezbollah fired six anti-tank missiles at Israel, killing one civilian and one soldier. Also on October 15, Hamas claimed responsibility for launching several rockets at Israel from Lebanon, though they caused no damage. In response to the attacks, Israeli aircraft targeted Hezbollah military assets in southern Lebanon.  

Expert Analysis  

“If Israel goes to war with Hezbollah, it will be devastating for Lebanon. A country in severe financial distress, Lebanon has suffered enormously from previous wars between Israel and terror groups inside Lebanon. Despite this, Hezbollah has dangerously provoked the Jewish state, killing multiple Israelis in the past several days. For now, the Israeli military is exercising restraint, acutely aware the future of Lebanon may lie in the balance.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network 

“Hezbollah poses a considerable threat to Israel, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad further complicating matters by carrying out attacks on Israeli targets in northern Israel from Lebanon. These developments highlight the strengthening of cooperation between Palestinian terrorist organizations and Iran’s Lebanese proxy.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal 

6,000 Rockets in Eight Days 

On the morning of October 16, Israeli authorities ordered residents of Israel as far north as the city of Ashdod to take shelter from rocket fire emanating from Gaza. On October 15, the IDF reported that Hamas has fired over 6,000 rockets from Gaza since the war began — more than in any previous conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.  

Number of Hostages Rises to 199 

IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari revealed on October 16 that 199 Israeli hostages are being held in Gaza. There has been no word from the hostages since their abduction more than a week ago. The International Committee of the Red Cross said on October 15 that it is requesting “immediate access” to the hostages held in Israel amid concerns of sexual violence against them. On October 15, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas attempted to distance himself from Hamas in an article published by the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, although the article was subsequently removed from the site.  

Israel Warns Iran Against Opening Second Front,” FDD Flash Brief 

Hamas Acts to Prevent Northern Gazans from Fleeing South,” FDD Flash Brief  

America’s Middle East Imperative: Contain Iran,” by Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh 


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Lebanon