March 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

Prospects for War With Hezbollah Drawing ‘Closer,’ Israeli Defense Minister Says

March 5, 2024 | Flash Brief

Prospects for War With Hezbollah Drawing ‘Closer,’ Israeli Defense Minister Says

Latest Developments

Hezbollah’s continued attacks on Israel are bringing the two closer to war, warned Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on March 5. “We are committed to the diplomatic process. However, Hezbollah’s aggression is bringing us closer to a critical point in the decision-making regarding our military activities in Lebanon,” Gallant said during a meeting with U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein in Tel Aviv. Hochstein visited Israel after stopping in Beirut on March 4 to hold talks with senior Lebanese officials, including Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Through his visit, Hochstein said he seeks to find a diplomatic solution to prevent ongoing clashes between Israel and the terrorist group from devolving into a full-scale war.

Gallant and Hochstein met the day after Hezbollah launched an anti-tank missile at the northern Israeli community of Margaliot, killing an Indian foreign worker and injuring seven other foreign workers from India and Thailand. In response, Israeli forces shelled the missile’s launch site and conducted airstrikes on Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Lebanon. Shortly after their meeting, Hezbollah launched a rocket barrage at northern Israel, with two rockets striking a home and a clothing store in the town of Kiryat Shmona, causing no injuries.

Expert Analysis

“Preventing war is noble and desirable. But none of the proposals for ending the ongoing round of fighting between Hezbollah and Israel would do so in any meaningful sense — they are mere stopgap measures and would only delay a war for which Hezbollah will continue preparing assiduously, leaving Israel to confront an unrepentant and far more lethal iteration of the group in the future.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

“Hamas created problems for Hezbollah on October 7. It made any future attempts at a surprise attack and infiltration of the Galilee region by its Radwan Force much more difficult to carry out. This development also led to a credible Israeli military warning about the removal of Hezbollah positions along the Lebanon-Israel border. Thus, it may be in Hezbollah’s interest to find a diplomatic solution where it will move its forces north of the Litani River in exchange for concessions by Israel.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hezbollah’s Near-Daily Attacks

Hezbollah began launching attacks on Israel using rockets, missiles, and drones shortly after Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel. Since then, Israel has replied to near-daily attacks from Hezbollah on its northern communities by targeting Hezbollah leaders, cells, and infrastructure in airstrikes. On March 3, Hezbollah carried out attacks on the northern Israeli communities of Metula, Ghajar, and Malkia. Sirens also sounded in numerous other northern Israeli communities. On February 29, Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted rockets near Israel’s populous northern city of Haifa.

Israel Calls for International Community to Contain Hezbollah

At the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Israel evacuated more than 80,000 residents from communities along the Israeli-Lebanese border, fearing attacks from Hezbollah. Israeli officials have continuously warned that if diplomatic efforts fail, Israel will use force to move Hezbollah from the border to north of the Litani River, as required by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said during a February 13 address that “it would be easier to bring the river to the border, than Hezbollah to the river.” Hezbollah is believed to have stockpiles of more than 150,000 rockets and long-range missiles aimed at Israel in addition to an air defense system. Senior Hezbollah officials have threatened that its missiles can reach all of Israel, not only the north.

Hezbollah Attack on Northern Israel Kills One, Injures Nine,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Shoots Down Israeli Drone With Surface-to-Air Missiles,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Rockets Target IDF Base in Northern Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Airstrike Kills Two Hezbollah Terrorists, Including Senior Radwan Commander,” FDD Flash Brief


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