October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

120,000 Israelis Evacuated Amid Hamas, Hezbollah Threats to Israel

October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

120,000 Israelis Evacuated Amid Hamas, Hezbollah Threats to Israel

Latest Developments

Israel evacuated 14 more northern border communities over the weekend amid increased Hezbollah threats from Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) of the Ministry of Defense have now evacuated more than 120,000 people from more than 100 communities near Gaza and Lebanon due to threats from Hamas and Hezbollah. The evacuations come in the wake of the Hamas massacre of more than 1,400 people on October 7. Hezbollah has increasingly used anti-tank fire, rockets, and other weapons to terrorize northern Israel. Those who have been evacuated are accommodated in hotels and guest houses.

Expert Analysis

“Israel is hardening its defenses by evacuating cities and communities in the north that will likely endure heavy rocket fire from Hezbollah if the situation rapidly escalates. Israel’s emergency management authority is currently dealing with over 120,000 displaced people, and this number could grow considerably in the coming days. Luckily, Israel has contingency plans for getting people out of harm’s way to prevent civilian casualties. The emphasis that the Jewish state places on securing its civilian population is in stark contrast with Hamas’ policy of using the civilian population of Gaza as human shields.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The Hezbollah threat to northern Israel has increased in the last week as the group, backed by Iran, continues to attack Israel. The terror group has killed and injured civilians and soldiers. It is essential Iran and Hezbollah be deterred from further attacks.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Hezbollah Increasingly Uses Anti-Tank Fire

Hezbollah killed an IDF soldier and injured foreign workers with anti-tank fire on October 20. Hezbollah has up to 200,000 rockets, according to a report by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Israel’s Tel Aviv University. Israel carried out strikes against terrorist cells in Lebanon and anti-tank launch sites overnight on October 22 and 23.

U.S. Deploys Naval and Military Forces to Deter Iran

On October 21, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said he had “activated the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for U.S. forces.” This deployment, along with two aircraft carrier strike groups, is designed to deter Iran and its proxies. After the October 7 attack by Hamas, Iranian-backed militias have increased their attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, using drones and rockets to strike at Al-Asad base and other facilities.

Israel Maintains Internal Quiet Amid War With Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel’s War Against Hamas Will Take Time,” by Enia Krivine

U.S. Navy Shoots Down Missiles and Drones Launched From Yemen,” FDD Flash Brief


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Jihadism Palestinian Politics