update deskIsrael at War

Gallant: IDF expanding attacks on Hezbollah, readiness for war

"A war would be a difficult challenge for the State of Israel—however, it would be a catastrophe for Hezbollah and Lebanon," the defense minister said.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits Israel Defense Forces troops serving on the northern border with Lebanon, Nov. 11, 2023. Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visits Israel Defense Forces troops serving on the northern border with Lebanon, Nov. 11, 2023. Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense.

The Israel Defense Forces is working to increase its readiness for a possible war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday.

He added that the military is expanding its operations against the Iran-backed terrorist organization.

“We do not wish for a war in Lebanon. I can tell you that such a war would be a difficult challenge for the State of Israel—however, it would be a catastrophe for Hezbollah and Lebanon,” Gallant told military and local political officials following a homefront preparedness drill in Haifa.

As part of Wednesday’s exercise, security services, local officials in Israel’s north and government ministries prepared for a quick transition from routine to emergency, according to a readout from Gallant’s office.

“We need to be prepared and ready for every scenario and threat, against close enemies and distant enemies,” he said at the drill.

“The message I want to convey to the public: Preparedness and vigilance in all areas. This is essential for us to know how to prepare in case something happens, either at the enemy’s initiative or at our own initiative,” continued the defense minister.

“If, God forbid, it’ll come to such a campaign, we need to minimize the number of casualties and damage to our territory while we maximize the damage to their side,” he said.

Gallant noted that while Israel prefers “an agreement that will result in the removal of the [Hezbollah] threat,” the Jewish state needs to “prepare for the possibility of [using] force in Lebanon, which can also take into account the scenario we are describing here, which is a scenario of war.”

The IDF has been engaged in conflict with Hezbollah since the Southern Lebanon-based terrorist group joined the current war in support of Hamas following the Oct. 7 atrocities in Israel’s northwestern Negev.

Tens of thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from their homes close to the northern border, which have seen near-daily rocket, mortar and drone attacks from the Land of the Cedars.

On Monday, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

The strike also killed Brig. Gen. Haji Rahimi, who served as Zahedi’s deputy, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency confirmed.

Zahedi served in IRGC’s Quds Force, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, and was reportedly responsible for a wide range of operations in Syria and Lebanon, including liaising with Hezbollah.

Iran has vowed a harsh response, with Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian saying the Islamic Republic and its proxies would retaliate against the Jewish state “at the appropriate time and place.”

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