Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Photo of Hezbollah aerial map used to document movement of IDF forces at northern border during 2006 Second Lebanon War.

The IDF has begun to install concrete barriers at strategic points along Route 889, the road the runs along Israel’s border with Lebanon, as an additional protection from cross-border terrorist activity for the area’s residents.

Over the past several months the military has also added a “smart” security fence and other measures. Israeli farmers around Metullah have been warned not to work their fields near the border.

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The IDF has also beefed up forces in the area in response to a direct threat by Hezbollah terrorist chief Hassan Nasrallah, who threatened Israel in a speech this week.

The measures were part of a heightened alert following air strikes on Hezbollah positions and last week’s assassination of the terror group’s commander in the Syrian Golan Heights, Lebanese Druze child killer Samir Kuntar.

Although the Free Syrian Army opposition force claimed responsibility for the assassination it is still largely believed that Israeli fighter jets carried out the strike against Kuntar. Israel, however, has said nothing in response to the claims.

Nasrallah said in his speech during a ceremony marking a week after Kuntar’s death, “The response for the assassination of al-Kuntar is coming, there’s no doubt.

“The Israelis have a reason to be worried, in the border area and outside it (ed. – abroad). The scary statements we’ve heard (ed. – from Israel) in the past few days won’t help… Look at the border from Rosh HaNikra to the Israeli position in the occupied Golan. Where are the enemy soldiers? Are they not like rats, hiding in their lairs?”

The so-called “scary statements” referred to by Nasrallah were conveyed to the terrorist leader by a third party over the weekend, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas. “Israel will unleash a massive and merciless attack on Lebanon if Hezbollah retaliates for the assassination of Samir Kuntar,” European diplomats reportedly told Nasrallah. The warning followed a threat by the terrorist leader to avenge Kuntar’s death.

Those threats were again answered – this time directly – by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Eizenkot during his own speech at a ceremony Tuesday establishing a new IDF Commando Brigade.

“You don’t need to have a wide understanding of intelligence or strategy to understand the sensitivity of this period,” Eizenkot said.

“You look to the north and see the boastful statements (of Nasrallah) and the wind blowing in from Lebanon.

“You see the threats last night by Da’esh (ISIS) and the wave of security escalations we’ve been contending with in the past few months in [Judea and Samaria] and the threats from the south.

“These make the capabilities we see here more necessary than ever. The IDF Commando Brigade will be a front line protector and a marker of the IDF’s abilities and spirit,” he said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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