Hezbollah conducted a massive military exercise in southern Lebanon this week, reportedly deploying 10,000 gunmen over three days in a war-game scenario and simulating the Shiite group’s role as an Iranian proxy in a potential war between Israel and Iran.
Reports of the operation surfaced in the Hebrew media on Thursday, based on an article in the Egyptian state paper al-Gomhuria, which reported that the exercises were personally supervised by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and by “top officials” from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
According to the reports, Hezbollah simulated raids into northern Israeli territory and clashes in villages along the southern Lebanese border with Israel, which have been reinforced against a potential conflict.
The report also stated that some 2,000 Hezbollah fighters were currently being trained by Revolutionary Guard operatives in Iran.
Analysts believe that Hezbollah will be called upon by Tehran to open a front against Israel should Jerusalem order a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The organization, considered a terror group by Israel and the US, has a de facto hold over much of southern Lebanon. While the Shiite group can shoot rockets into the north of Israel and has made covert forays dozens of meters into Israeli territory, it has not launched large-scale raids into the country.
The 2006 Second Lebanon War began after Hezbollah terrorists opened diversionary fire along the Israeli border, and then fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli army patrol — killing three soldiers instantly and taking soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser captive. Their bodies were later returned in a prisoner exchange.
Last Friday, in a speech to mark Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, Nasrallah said Hezbollah would transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis to “hell” if Israel attacked Lebanon. He said Hezbollah rockets could hit any target in Israel, and that a small number of precisely fired missiles could “transform the lives of millions of Zionists in occupied Palestine to a real hell,” with tens of thousands of Israeli fatalities.