Gallant warns Nasrallah: Lebanon will pay the price for reality you’ve created

Defense minister presents photos of 9 senior Hezbollah commanders IDF has killed, countering terror group’s denial that Israel is taking out its leadership

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits the IDF's Northern Command, May 29, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits the IDF's Northern Command, May 29, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday warned that the Hezbollah terror group, with its incessant attacks on Israel, was pulling Lebanon into a “harsh reality” that would take its toll on the country’s residents.

During a visit to the IDF’s Northern Command, Gallant also presented photos and details about senior Hezbollah commanders Israel has killed during eight months of cross-border clashes since October 8.

“[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah is dragging Lebanon into a harsh reality,” Gallant said. “The ones who will pay the price are the residents of Lebanon and Hezbollah forces.”

The minister went on to taunt Nasrallah over Hezbollah’s denial that Israel was killing its senior commanders amid the border clashes.

Standing in front of a large poster featuring what he said were nine Hezbollah commanders, Gallant identified each one by name and their role within the Iran-backed terror group.

The nine Hezbollah officers are equivalent to the rank of brigadier general in conventional militaries, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry.

“I ask him – all these people aren’t yours?” Gallant said.

“This is the same Nasrallah who said two weeks ago that there are no casualties among the Hezbollah terrorists,” he added.

“There are over 320 dead terrorists including senior terrorists. If you continue we will escalate,” Gallant warned.

Last month Hezbollah denied Gallant’s claim that Israeli forces have killed half of the Iran-backed terror group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, saying only a handful were slain.

Hezbollah has been exchanging near-daily fire with the Israeli army since the day after its Palestinian ally Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

The Hezbollah attacks, which have included rockets and drones launched at northern border communities, continued Wednesday. The IDF said its Iron Dome air defense system shot down two drones that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon.

Sirens had sounded in communities in the Galilee Panhandle.

An image grab from Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV taken on February 16, 2024, shows the head of the Lebanese terror group Hassan Nasrallah delivering a televised speech. (Al-Manar/AFP)

Earlier, the IDF said another suspected drone from Lebanon was downed by air defenses over the sea, near the border community of Rosh Hanikra.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 322 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 62 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

Israel has threatened to go to war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north of Israel, where tens of thousands of civilians are currently displaced.

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