November 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Clashes with Hezbollah Increase on Israel-Lebanon Border

November 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Clashes with Hezbollah Increase on Israel-Lebanon Border

Latest Developments

Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon continued escalating hostilities on Israel’s northern border on November 20, launching dozens of rockets, mortars, and drones into the Jewish state. The organization’s attacks targeted the northern towns of Arab al-Aramshe and Bar’am. One of the attacks caused heavy damage and a fire at the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Biranit base, but Israeli officials did not report any injuries. The barrage came after the IDF shelled southern Lebanon with artillery to prevent the approach of terror cells seeking to carry out attacks. The IDF later struck multiple Hezbollah sites, including a Hezbollah command center, using fighter jets, combat helicopters, and tanks.

Expert Analysis

“Hezbollah continues to test Israel’s patience. The more the group attacks, the higher the likelihood of a significant strike that forces Israel’s hand. This is what happened in 2006. Hezbollah ultimately brought upon Lebanon a war from which the country never recovered. This could compound Lebanon’s misery.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“The nature of Lebanese Hezbollah’s escalation renders moot the talk about its involvement being like a turning on a light switch. It’s more a measure of volume. Israel may find it increasingly hard to ignore, absorb, or only sporadically respond to the growing quantity of anti-tank missile, drone, and rocket fire.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

U.S. Efforts to Prevent Escalation

The new skirmishes came as Biden administration senior advisor Amos Hochstein visited Israel. Axios reported that Hochstein’s visit is part of an effort by the United States to prevent an escalation between Israel and Hezbollah into an all-out war. Israel has evacuated tens of thousands of residents from towns and villages near the northern border, many of whom fear returning while the threat from Hezbollah remains.

Increasing Clashes on the Border

Hezbollah, Iran’s most well-armed Shiite terrorist proxy, has been rearming since its last conflict with Israel in 2006. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on November 11 that the organization has introduced new weapons, including heavy warhead missiles, into its arsenal. He threatened to keep putting pressure on Israel through ongoing attacks.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters on November 19 that Hezbollah has fired 1,000 rockets, mortars, missiles, and drones towards Israel since October 8, the day after Hamas’s attack in southern Israel. 

A More Powerful Hezbollah

United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701, which ended the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, required Hezbollah to disarm. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was established to keep an area along the Israel-Lebanon border, known as the Blue Line, free from military activity. However, the force has been unable to police Hezbollah’s movements and rearmament. In violation of UNSCR 1701, Hezbollah has rebuilt itself, surpassing its previous capabilities.

The group reportedly has an arsenal of more than 150,000 rockets and long-range missiles, an extensive air defense system, and a commando force. The group has also armed itself with unmanned aerial vehicles and precision-guided munitions capable of striking specific targets deep inside Israel.

10 Things to Know About Hezbollah,” FDD Insight

Israel Strikes Hezbollah Terror Sites in Lebanon,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Increases Attacks on Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Introduces New Missiles Into Conflict With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief


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