February 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Air Force Plans Continued Lebanon Overflights

February 8, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Air Force Plans Continued Lebanon Overflights

Latest Developments

Israel signaled this week that it will continue surveillance flights over Lebanon amid Western efforts to tamp down Hezbollah provocations. The United States and France have been trying to talk Beirut into removing Hezbollah terrorists from the vicinity of Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, where they have been conducting attacks in solidarity with Hamas during the Gaza war. One proposal would reportedly entail a reciprocal Israeli commitment to scale back or cease Israeli Air Force flights over Lebanese territory.

But Israeli Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar said his corps had in fact expanded operations there, hinting in a speech that Hezbollah air-defense systems had been neutralized. “Nowadays we fly freely over the skies of Lebanon,” he said. “We destroyed extensive capabilities that had been meant to create an off-limits zone in Lebanese skies. We hadn’t flown there since 2018, and thanks to our operations, that reality is a thing of the past. And I intend for us to preserve this and to continue to operate wherever required in the Middle East.”

Bar said “dozens” of military aircraft were currently active over Lebanon, carrying out strikes on roving Hezbollah guided-missile crews and terrorist facilities. That scope would dramatically increase should hostilities escalate into full-blown war, he warned. “The word ‘strike’ does not capture what will actually happen. There will be a massive and substantive pummeling, hundreds of targets will be hit simultaneously, including in Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and Bekaa,” Bar said.

Expert Analysis

“At the outset of the Gaza war, Hamas and its terror masters in Tehran planned to outflank Israel by having Hezbollah open a second front from Lebanon. It is to Jerusalem’s credit that, with the help of President Biden and the U.S. Navy carrier groups dispatched to the region, a cap has been kept on that northern threat. But Hezbollah provocations persist, and Israel cannot be expected to suffer the mass displacement of its northern communities forever. Nor can the biggest Tehran-backed terrorist group be rewarded for its brinkmanship with future immunity from aerial tracking of its deployments in civilian areas and arms imports through neighboring Syria.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The downshifting of the Gaza war has been felt in a relative easing of air strikes by Israel, which is focusing on more pinpointed ground operations against Hamas. That has credibly freed up Israeli Air Force capacity for other fronts. Hezbollah, and the Lebanese state at large, would be wise to heed this.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hezbollah Rockets Wound Three Israeli Soldiers,” FDD Flash Brief

Lebanon Rejects Proposal to Curb Hezbollah,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Rocket Attack Wounds Two Israeli Soldiers,” FDD Flash Brief


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