October 31, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hezbollah Introduces New Missiles Into Conflict With Israel

October 31, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hezbollah Introduces New Missiles Into Conflict With Israel

Latest Developments

Hezbollah changed its military tactics on October 29 by reportedly firing a surface-to-air missile for the first time in this conflict. The change is likely intended to counter Israeli drones that have been able to identify Hezbollah fighters approaching the Israeli border. To maintain pressure on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Hezbollah has been carrying out frequent attacks — using rockets, mortars, and guided missiles — on Israeli targets in the area. Although Hezbollah’s attacks have killed six Israeli soldiers and caused damage to military bases, the proximity of Hezbollah members to the Lebanon-Israel border has exposed them to constant surveillance by Israeli military drones and lethal IDF retaliation.

Expert Analysis

“The Biden administration has rushed additional U.S. forces to the Middle East to deter aggression by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border and make Tehran’s other terror puppets think twice about attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. Unfortunately, Tehran’s proxies seem too busy attacking Israel and targeting American troops to notice all the additional U.S. forces in the region.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“Hezbollah has lost scores of fighters while launching relatively limited attacks on IDF positions in the north. If Hezbollah steps up attacks, the IDF will inflict hundreds, if not thousands, of casualties, as well as savage Hezbollah rocket and missile sites.” Bill Roggio, FDD Senior Fellow

For the last three weeks, Hassan Nasrallah has chosen to keep attacks on Israeli targets below the threshold of all-out war with Israel. Yet Hezbollah’s constant attempts to strike are testing Israel’s endurance and could trigger a wide-ranging response.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

A Multi-Front Threat

Iran-backed Hezbollah is estimated to possesses more than 150,000 missiles and rockets. If a large portion of these were fired at Israel, it could overwhelm the Israeli air defense system. A growing portion of Hezbollah’s arsenal is precision-guided munitions, enabling Hezbollah to potentially strike targets in Israel more accurately and creating additional challenges for Israel and its Iron Dome system.

The Biden administration has bolstered the U.S. military presence in the region to deter additional aggression. It remains to be seen if those efforts will be successful. A senior defense official confirmed on October 30 that “from October 17 to October 30, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 14 separate times in Iraq and nine separate times in Syria, through a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets, for a total of 23 attacks to date.”

Hezbollah’s Use of ATGMs Against Israel

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah utilized anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in a series of coordinated ambushes against Israeli armored vehicles and bases. The use of these weapons resulted in many of the losses sustained by Israeli ground forces. The IDF encountered difficulty in identifying and targeting Hezbollah’s hidden ATGM positions, which were firing from a distance.

Following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, Hezbollah has conducted ATGM attacks on Israeli troops and positions near the Israel-Lebanon border. On October 20, a Hezbollah attack killed an Israeli American dual citizen. In response, Israel has launched airstrikes aimed at Hezbollah targets. In anticipation of further escalation from Hezbollah, Israeli authorities have ordered civilians residing in towns near the border to evacuate.

Hezbollah Death Toll Continues to Rise,” by Joe Truzman

Iran-Backed Iraqi Militia Says it is ‘Ready for a war of Attrition,’ Called Israel its ‘Enemy,’” by Joe Truzman and Bill Roggio

Iran-Backed Militias Attack U.S. Forces in Iraq,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Strikes IRGC Weapon and Ammunition Facilities in Syria,” FDD Flash Brief


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