Hezbollah stages wargames for media, asserts ‘complete readiness’ to confront Israel

Fighters from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah carry out a training exercise in Aaramta village in the Jezzine District, southern Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Fighters from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah carry out a training exercise in Aaramta village in the Jezzine District, southern Lebanon, May 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah puts on a show of force, extending a rare media invitation to one of its training sites in southern Lebanon, where its forces are staging a simulated military exercise.

Masked fighters jump through flaming hoops, fire from the backs of motorcycles, and blow up Israeli flags posted in the hills above and a wall simulating the one at the border between Lebanon and Israel.

Senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine says in a speech that the exercise is meant to “confirm our complete readiness to confront any aggression” by Israel.

The exercise comes ahead of “Liberation Day,” the Lebanese annual celebration of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon on May 25, 2000, and in the wake of a recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, has long had ties with Hezbollah, and both groups are backed by Iran.

The recent heightened tensions also come months after Israel and Lebanon signed a landmark US-brokered maritime border agreement, which many analysts predicted would lower the risk of a future military confrontation between the two countries.

The Israeli military declines to comment on the Hezbollah exercise.

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