July 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two Israeli Civilians Killed by Hezbollah Rocket Barrage in Golan Heights

July 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Two Israeli Civilians Killed by Hezbollah Rocket Barrage in Golan Heights

Latest Developments

Two Israeli civilians traveling by car in the Golan Heights were killed in a barrage of around 40 rockets fired by Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese proxy, on July 9. The victims, a man and a woman, were traveling through the Nafah Junction in a car that was directly struck by one of the rockets, The Times of Israel reported. Hezbollah said on Telegram that its barrage — using unguided Katyusha rockets — was in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier that day that killed Yasser Qranbish, a former bodyguard to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The group also claimed that its target was the headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) 210th Division in Nafah.

The Associated Press reported that Israel’s strike in Syria targeted a vehicle in which Qranbish was traveling near the Syria-Lebanon border. According to Reuters, two security sources said the former bodyguard had become a mid-ranking Hezbollah official involved in transporting weapons. Hezbollah issued a statement acknowledging the death of Qranbish but did not disclose further details.

Expert Analysis

“Another fraught day on Israel’s northern front has again laid bare the moral gulf between Israel and its enemies. The Israelis work diligently — at great expense and at considerable risk — to target Hezbollah combatants in precise operations. Hezbollah, meanwhile, blankets Israeli civilian areas with unguided rockets to shed blood — no matter whose.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The presence of a Hezbollah official as significant as Yasser Qranbish in Syria demonstrates the extent to which that country now serves as the organization’s strategic depth. If a full conflict breaks out, the IDF will have to act against Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria, spreading out the Israeli army’s resources and complicating its ability to accomplish its objectives against the group.” David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow 

“The elimination of Qranbish underscores the multifaceted nature of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. With Bashar al-Assad’s blessing, Hezbollah, Iran, and its allies have turned Syria into a front against Israel by launching attacks and facilitating arms transfers to Lebanon.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel’s Multi-Front War Against Iranian Proxies

Israel has been waging a multi-front campaign against Iran, Hezbollah, and affiliated militias in Syria. The frequency and intensity of the strikes have increased following the initiation of hostilities against Israel by Hezbollah and its allies on October 8. Notably, on March 29, a reported Israeli attack on a weapons depot and other targets in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo killed 36 Syrian soldiers, seven Hezbollah fighters, and a Syrian affiliated with Iranian-linked militias.

Hezbollah Implements Precautions Against Israeli Strikes

In a separate exposé from Beirut, Reuters reported that Hezbollah has sought to impose counter-intelligence precautions on its personnel given Israel’s success in carrying out targeted strikes against them. On November 22, the report said, a person posing as a local Lebanese official but likely working for Israel called the owners of a home where Hezbollah terrorists were holed up, to ensure there were no civilians at the site. The home was then struck from the air, killing five of the terrorists inside.

Israel Eliminated Key Hezbollah Commander

On July 3, the IDF confirmed that they had eliminated Muhammad Nimah Nasser, a key Hezbollah commander, in a strike in Tyre, Lebanon. Also known as Abu Nimah, Nasser was responsible for orchestrating missile and rocket attacks against Israeli territory from southwestern Lebanon. According to the IDF statement, he had served as the commander of Hezbollah’s Aziz Unit since 2016.

Nasser was the third Hezbollah commander to be eliminated since the terrorist group attacked Israel following the October 7 atrocities executed by its ally, Hamas, The Times of Israel reported. The previous two commanders killed by Israel were Sami Taleb Abdullah, the commander of the Nasr regional division, and Wissam al-Tawil, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan unit.

Latest Developments

Key Hezbollah Commander Eliminated in Israeli Strike,” FDD Flash Brief

Iranian Mission to UN Threatens Israel With ‘Obliterating War,’” FDD Flash Brief

War Between Israel and Hezbollah Drawing Closer, U.S. Says,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah rocket barrage on Israel wounds several, including a US citizen,” by Seth J. Frantzman

Issues:

Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Israel at War Lebanon Syria