Israeli military launches two-day drill along northern frontier

IDF says exercise aimed at strengthening readiness for outbreak of fighting; units testing ‘joint ground and air capabilities’

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

Israeli soldiers participate in a drill near the border with Syria in northern Golan Heights, June 14, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers participate in a drill near the border with Syria in northern Golan Heights, June 14, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday morning it had begun a two-day-long military drill along Israel’s northern border, stimulating a potential outbreak of fighting.

The exercise is meant to strengthen the readiness of troops stationed in the border area, and it would include units simulating “joint ground and air capabilities,” the IDF said.

The IDF added that the drill also aims to test the readiness of the various IDF Northern Command unit headquarters during a potential escalation with the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, or other Iran-backed militias.

The military said the drill was planned in advance, indicating that it did not stem from a new assessment.

Last month, the IDF held a week-long drill across northern Israel.

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon were high recently amid a dispute over rights to offshore fields thought to hold riches of natural gas.

The border wall that runs between Israel and Lebanon with the Mediterranean Sea in the distance, in Rosh Hanikra, Israel, on October 14, 2022. (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

However, the IDF’s alert level on the northern border was lowered last month after a landmark maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon went into effect.

Israel and Lebanon are technically still at war and the deal does not touch on the land border.

The Iran-backed Lebanese terror group has long represented the IDF’s most significant military threat on Israel’s borders, with an estimated arsenal of nearly 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere in the country.

According to recent military assessments, should war with Hezbollah break out, Israeli cities could be bombarded with between 1,500 and 3,000 rockets a day and the death toll could quickly reach into the hundreds.

Other Iranian militias based in Syria could join in a potential battle alongside Hezbollah with missiles and drone attacks, according to other assessments.

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