Hezbollah has increased its general alert level along the border with Israel, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported Saturday, “for fear of attempts by Israel to drag Lebanon and Syria into an escalation of a state less than war but more than an operation.”
Officials told the newspaper that the Lebanese terrorist organization believes Israel is getting ready for some sort of action, because the leadership in Jerusalem believes “that its situation is critical and will soon be tested” in;light of the recent signing of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Hezbollah, the report added, raised its alert level to the highest possible in order to deal with a war scenario, similar to the Second Lebanon War, taking into account there could be an escalation into a wider war.
On Saturday night, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed “deep concern concerning flagrant violations of the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria.” In response to the rocket fire on the Galilee and the IDF’s response attack, Ban’s office said: “The UN Secretary General condemns all violations and calls on both parties to refrain from actions that endanger the cease-fire between Israel and Syria and undermine stability in the region.” He added that “the parties must show maximum restraint to prevent an escalation.”
The tension on the northern border is at its highest since the firing of four rockets on Wednesday at the Golan and Galilee, the first shooting from Syria at the Galilee since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The IDF announced Friday morning that it killed the terrorist cell that launched the rockets at Israel when it struck a vehicle inside Syria. At least four people were killed in that attack.
Even before that attack, Israel responded the rocket fire by bombing Syrian targets. Syria’s news agency quoted a military official who reported that a Syrian army soldier was killed in the bombing by the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The IAF and armored units and artillery attacked 14 Syrian regime targets in the center of the Syria’s Golan Heights, the most extensive IDF attack in Syria in recent years.
Arab media on Friday published the first photographs allegedly documenting the bombed vehicle. The Al Mayadeen television network, affiliated with Hezbollah, reported that three of those killed were Palestinians and one was Syrian.
A senior IDF officer said the attack was carried out by aircraft. “We followed the cell and it was attacked at a distance of 10 to 15 kilometers from the border in an area in the total control of the Syrian army,” said the military source. He estimated that it was an “Islamic Jihad cell controlled by Iran.”