January 16, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Hints at Lebanon Ground Operations

January 16, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Hints at Lebanon Ground Operations

Latest Developments

The Israeli military went public on January 16 with a special forces operation in southern Lebanon, as the prospect of war with Hezbollah looms. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its special forces struck in order “to remove a threat” in the area of Ayta ash Shab, a Lebanese village about half a mile from the Israeli border, which has seen frequent Hezbollah attacks in solidarity with Hamas during the Gaza war.

The announcement appeared to be a rare acknowledgement by Israel of action on the ground as opposed to retaliatory air and artillery strikes against the Iran-backed terrorist group. Separately, Israeli aircraft and artillery carried out heavy shelling of dozens of Hezbollah targets in Wadi Saluki, a strategic southern Lebanese gateway to the country’s interior.

Major-General Ori Gordin, chief of the IDF Northern Command, said tens of thousands of Israeli troops were training for a potential Lebanon offensive. Time is running out for the Beirut government, and Western countries that care about Lebanon’s future, to persuade Hezbollah to back off the border with Israel.

Expert Analysis

“A day after the Hamas massacre that triggered the Gaza war, Hezbollah opened a second front with Israel. It is now Hezbollah that must stand down, or drag Lebanon into an all-out war.” —Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Israeli special forces operation in Lebanon should be a concerning development because it signals growing Israeli exasperation with Hezbollah’s escalating attacks. It also reflects the failure of international diplomacy and the IDF’s limited counterstrikes to silence the organization’s guns. If Hezbollah’s current aggression and perpetually growing threat on the Lebanon-Israel border remain unaddressed, further escalation can be expected, and Hezbollah and Israel will continue inching toward war.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

“Since the onset of the October 7 war, Hezbollah has adopted a tactic of engaging the Israeli military in a bid to relieve pressure on Hamas in Gaza. However, Israel is using this opportunity to respond to Hezbollah by destroying the organization’s infrastructure in southern Lebanon, thus degrading the military capabilities of the Lebanese terrorist organization.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hezbollah Targets Northern Israel with Rocket Fire,” FDD Flash Brief

Elderly Israeli and Son Killed in Terror Attack on Israel-Lebanon Border,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Attacks Israel Using Kamikaze Drones,” FDD Flash Brief


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