The GOC Northern Command on Wednesday evening declared Israel’s northern border in the Golan Heights along the boundary with Syria to be a closed military zone.
The area affected stretches from Kibbutz Dafna in the Upper Galilee to the Druze town of Mas’ade in the northern Golan Heights. Included in the region are Kibbutz Dan, the border village of Ghajar, the Banias, Fort Nimrod, Neve Ativ, Majdal Shams and Mount Hermon.
The military announcement comes after the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization launched the most serious attack on northern Israel seen since the start of the Syrian civil war.
Two IDF soldiers were killed and six others were wounded, including two with serious injuries, in an afternoon-long battle between the IDF and Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon. In addition, a Spanish peacekeeper serving in the UNIFIL force since November 2014 was killed during the exchange of gunfire.
The IDF has confirmed that Hezbollah fired six Kornet anti-tank missiles at a convoy traveling in northern Israel, and not two as originally reported. Three hit the convoy; one hit a house in the Druze village of Ghajar, setting it afire.
The convoy was comprised of two IDF vehicles leading two civilian vehicles on a road returning from the area of Mount Dov. It appears that the goal of the attack – as in the 2006 cross-border raid that launched the Second Lebanon War – was to spark a military provocation that would be a distraction while Hezbollah terrorists abducted one or more IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians. Hezbollah also reportedly simultaneously directed a round of mortar shells at the area near Metullah and around Mount Hermon.
Because civilians were involved in the attack – as well as the two IDF vehicles that were incinerated when they were struck and the soldiers who were killed – the incident is being considered in a far more serious light.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet to discuss the ramifications of the attack and to decide how Israel should respond.
UNIFIL is meanwhile attempting to negotiate a resumption of the ceasefire that was arranged between the two sides to end the Second Lebanon War, and which was violated today (Jan. 28.)