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At Lebanese border, Herzog warns Hezbollah not to test IDF

IDF chief also tours northern border • French envoy meets with Hezbollah reps in bid to reduce tensions.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks across the border into Lebanon, Aug. 2, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog looks across the border into Lebanon, Aug. 2, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited a military post on the Lebanon border on Wednesday, delivering a stern message to Hezbollah amid increased provocations by the Iran-backed terror group.

“Let no one among our enemies be mistaken—especially Hezbollah across the border. The IDF is very strong, organized and ready for any scenario,” Herzog posted to the X social-media platform, formerly known as Twitter.

“The State of Israel will continue to maintain its sovereignty and the peace of its citizens. To our neighbors, citizens of Lebanon, I say: We see your country collapsing and we extend our hands for peace. You do not deserve that Iran and Hezbollah will destroy your country.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi also toured Israel’s northern border on Wednesday.

As part of his visit, Halevi examined the security barrier being built along the border with Lebanon, which the IDF said has “progressed by dozens of kilometers in recent months.” A security assessment was also held with the participation of regional commanders.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi tours the northern border, August 2, 2023. Credit: IDF.

A senior French diplomat met with Hezbollah representatives on Tuesday amid escalating tensions at the Israel-Lebanon border.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, former French foreign minister and President Emmanuel Macron’s envoy for Lebanese affairs, conveyed an indirect message from Israel that it is not interested in an escalation, according to Maariv.

Paris pledged to intervene following a visit to the French capital on July 20 by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in which he asked France to help stop Hezbollah “provocations” at the Lebanese border.

Lebanese soldiers and Hezbollah gunmen take pictures of a fire that spread from the Lebanese side of the border to Kibbutz Malkia, July 28, 2023. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.

“Excellent meeting with the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. We discussed the fight against the Iranian nuclear program, the expansion of the Abraham Accords, and I asked her to use France’s influence in Lebanon to stop Hezbollah‘s provocations that endanger regional stability,” Cohen said after the meeting.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan filed a complaint against Lebanon with the Security Council, demanding that the Lebanese government and the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission take immediate action to prevent Hezbollah military entrenchment at the border.

“The results could be devastating and cause a disaster,” he warned.

The Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group has carried out a series of hostile acts at the border with Israel in recent months, including setting up a manned outpost in April a few meters on the Israeli side of the Blue Line but beyond the Israeli security fence. The position, across from an IDF post, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists.

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