The Israel Defense Forces is preparing in northern Israel for a possible confrontation with the Hezbollah terrorist group.
Last week, soldiers from the IDF’s 226th Reserve Paratroopers Brigade, aka the Northern Brigade, and combat engineering forces performed training exercises focused on combat “in densely populated urban areas, winter weather conditions, and in the northern terrain,” the IDF said on Saturday.
The fighters trained from the platoon level up to the battalion level, combining tanks, infantry, combat engineers and artillery.
“Despite the winter weather, the rain, the mud and the fog, and after 113 days of defending the northern border, this week we carried out a series of difficult and complex exercises to strengthen the Brigade’s readiness,” said 226th Brigade Deputy Commander Lt. Col. (res.) Yehuda (the IDF did not provide his full name).
“The spirit of the commanders and soldiers is strong, professionalism is at a very high level and the troops are ready for anything. After this week, I can wholeheartedly say—we are ready,” he added.
So far, the National Land Training Center has conducted more than 100 days of training, including over 40 battalion exercises and over 100 company exercises.
Hezbollah launched a low-intensity conflict against the Jewish state in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, firing rockets, drones and anti-tank missiles at northern Israeli cities on a near-daily basis and forcing the evacuation of some 80,000 civilians from their homes.
The Iranian terror proxy has killed six Israeli civilians and nine IDF soldiers since the start of the war. A total of 171 Hezbollah members have been killed since hostilities escalated, including four on Friday in Israeli strikes on Southern Lebanon in response to earlier rocket fire.
The IDF said on Sunday that fighter jets recently attacked two Hezbollah “military” sites around the villages of Zibqin and Khula in Southern Lebanon. In addition, the army fired artillery on Sunday morning “to remove a threat against several areas in Southern Lebanon.”
Air-raid sirens sounded in Kiryat Shmona, a frequent target of Hezbollah fire, on Sunday afternoon. Three rockets hit open areas nearby as residents took shelter. The Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that it received no calls regarding casualties or damage.
Israel told the United States late last month that the time frame to distance Hezbollah from the border via a diplomatic agreement was the end of January, according to The Washington Post.
Citing a Western diplomat and three Lebanese officials, the report noted however that the Israeli government had not set a “hard deadline.”