Lebanon, Hezbollah ‘upping preparedness for attack’

Lebanon, Hezbollah ‘upping preparedness for attack’

Following the IAF’s ‘mock raids’ over southern Lebanon in recent days, officials reportedly fear a Syria-style Israeli strike

Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on the northern side of Israel's border with Lebanon. (Hamad Almakt/Flash90/File)
Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on the northern side of Israel's border with Lebanon. (Hamad Almakt/Flash90/File)

The Lebanese Army and the terrorist group Hezbollah are reportedly upping their preparedness in the southern part of Lebanon in response to flyovers by the Israeli Air Force this past week.

The pan-Arab London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi reported Friday that Lebanese officials fear that an Israeli strike, similar to Israel’s alleged strike on Syrian targets last month, is imminent in light of multiple “mock raids.”

According to the report, there is also suspicion among Hezbollah’s ranks that Israel intends to kidnap one of the organization’s senior members. The paper cites sources in southern Lebanon who said the suspicion is based on increased Israeli threats, and Bulgaria’s blaming of a July bombing in Burgas — in which 5 Israelis were killed — on the Shiite terror group.

Hezbollah has denied any involvement in the bombing, despite the Bulgarian report released Tuesday fingering the group.

The European Union has refused to label the Lebanese-based militia a terrorist organization, a position that has attracted significant criticism of late, but has said it may reconsider in the light of the Burgas allegations.

Officially labeling Hezbollah a terrorist entity would significantly hamper the group’s ability to operate. But doing so requires unanimity among the EU’s 27 member states.

“We strongly urge other governments around the world — and particularly our partners in Europe — to take immediate action to crack down on Hezbollah,” incoming US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, made it even clearer. “Now that Hezbollah has been found responsible for an attack on a European Union member nation, the EU must designate it as a terrorist organization,” he demanded Tuesday, calling the EU’s refusal to do so “indefensible.”

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: