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IDF expects Hezbollah to initiate limited rounds of violence

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Israel Defense Forces does not anticipate the outbreak of a large-scale war in the coming year, but does expect that Hezbollah and other terror groups will likely initiate more limited rounds of violence, according to its annual intelligence assessment.

This represents a significant change in the military’s assessments regarding its dynamic with Hezbollah. The IDF has long believed that were a conflict to break out with the Lebanese terror group, it would likely develop into a potentially major exchange.

Now, the IDF believes that Hezbollah is operating under the assumption that it can launch smaller attacks on the IDF without this leading to a full-blown war.

Israeli army forces seen stationed near the Lebanese border on July 27, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

This change in the terror group’s operating assumptions were on display last week when Hezbollah fired anti-aircraft missiles at an Israeli drone flying above southern Lebanon. Those surface-to-air missiles missed their target, and the IDF refrained from retaliating, but had the attack succeeded, the military was prepared to respond significantly, potentially leading to a multi-day conflict, something Hezbollah must have known was a possibility.

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