Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday that Hezbollah will be “fatally wounded” if Israel needs to go to war in Lebanon, after the terror group’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened Israel following an Israel Defense Forces exercise simulating war with the terror group.
“If we have to go to battle, Lebanon will tremble and Hezbollah will be fatally wounded,” Gantz said at a ceremony to honor soldiers who fell in battle and whose burial places are unknown.
“If there are days of fighting on the various fronts, they will be difficult for the Israeli home front, but it will be difficult and terrible first and foremost for our enemies,” Gantz said. “This is especially true for Hezbollah and Hamas, which are building offensive capabilities from within civilian areas and committing war crimes.”
The comments came after Nasrallah issued a warning to Israel on Tuesday, following the IDF exercise.
“We don’t seek a fight with Israel, but if it starts a war, we will fight,” Nasrallah said, according to Channel 13, adding that Hezbollah would bomb Israeli cities if the IDF were to bomb Lebanese cities.
“No one can guarantee that a few days of combat between us and Israel won’t lead to a wider war,” he said. “We’re following [events] and weighing our decisions. We won’t accept something that will put our country in danger.”
The Israeli Air Force completed a three-day surprise exercise simulating a large-scale war with Hezbollah this week, including mock strikes on some 3,000 targets in one day, the military said, in a clear threat to the Lebanese terror group.
The exercise also simulated Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, including the firing of cruise missiles and other advanced munitions, as well as standard, albeit massive, rocket launches at both military and civilian targets in the Jewish state, a senior air force officer told reporters.
The surprise exercise came amid lingering tension in the region between Israel and Hezbollah over the death of one of the terror group’s operatives in Syria last summer, in an airstrike widely attributed to the IDF. The Israeli military believes Hezbollah still intends to exact revenge for the death of its fighter in order to deter Israel from future strikes.