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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon’

They’re Ba-a-a-a-ck… Hezbollah Guerrillas Redeploy on Israel’s Northern Border

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Hezbollah guerrillas are back on Israel’s northern border, even though they’re busy in Syria. The only question now is what they are planning to do, and when.

IDF soldiers on Mount Dov fired warning shots today (Monday) at a shepherd approaching the border fence from Lebanon. At least, it appeared to be a shepherd. Along the northern border, you really never know. Regardless, the “shepherd” retraced his steps.

There have been a rash of “shepherd” incidents in that area of late. Earlier this month, two unidentified people also approached the border fence, but they ignored warnings by the IDF to turn back.

That incident and several others constitute a sea change in what has, until now, been a relatively calm period on the border between Lebanon and Israel. The exceptions might be the token Katyusha attacks launched here and there during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. But since the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, it has been pretty quiet.

It’s not clear how much longer that calm will hold, according to reports from Lebanon.

The Shehab news agency reports the Hezbollah terror organization has “changed its policy” and is moving forces from Syria to deploy along the border with Israel.

The report, published in Arabic today on the news agency’s Facebook page, quotes one written in the leftist Israeli daily Ha’aretz that referenced an article published in the Lebanon-based Al-Akhbar newspaper. Al-Akhbar, which is believed to be linked with Hezbollah, reported that the terror group is again expanding its operations in southern Lebanon, south of the Litani River.

The same move was seen prior to the Second Lebanon War. And this is now taking place despite the drain on the group’s resources due to its 3-year fight against Syrian rebels on alongside government forces for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Both Hezbollah and Assad are generously patronized by the Iranian government, which has also sent its elite Revolutionary Guards to help in the war effort.

The October 8 article in Al-Akhbar referred to the October 7 attack on an Israeli army patrol that left two IDF soldiers injured on Mount Dov, also known as the Sheba’a Farms.

Israeli media also reported on the attack, including JewishPress.com. “Initial reports indicate the explosive device was planted with the intent to attack soldiers,” read a statement from the IDF describing the attack.

Israel returned fire with mortar shells towards Sheba’a Farms and Kfar Shuba, the Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV station reported. A second bomb was detonated along the same border area a couple of hours later, but no injuries were reported in the new attack.

A day earlier, IDF soldiers spotted a terror cell attempting to infiltrate into northern Israel. The soldiers fired at the infiltrators, and hit at least one, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, who said the cell raced back across the border into Lebanon.

“The incident has not ended,” a senior IDF source said.

A subsequent statement released by IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner acknowledged the army had “responded to the unprovoked aggression against its forces and will continue to operate to maintain the safety of northern Israel.”

Just over eight years ago, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 ended the Second Lebanon War. The agreement has been violated by Hezbollah from the day the document was signed. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) charged with enforcing it has never actually done so — primarily because it can’t.

The document calls for the disarmament of all groups and entities in Lebanon other than the “legitimate” Lebanese Army. This was to include Hezbollah and any other terrorist organization.

Lebanese Army Soldiers Defect to Syrian Rebels

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

While Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorists are busy in Syria, fighting for Iran and Assad, Lebanese Army soldiers are going the other way, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star.

Lebanon is concerned with what may be turning into a trend after three Lebanese Army soldiers defected this week and joined ISIS and the Syrian rebels, ostensibly to fight Assad and Hezbollah.

ISIS released a video about the defections which received a lot of publicity.

All three soldiers are Sunnis, and Sunnis make up 50% of the Lebanese army.

There is a lot of sectarian friction in Lebanon. Hezbollah, which is part of the Lebanese government, has been preventing the appointment of a new Maronite president for the country.

Breaking down allegiances, 40% of Lebanon is Christian, 54% are Muslims, evenly split between Shiite and Sunnis. The rest are mostly Druze.

To help make the picture a little more clear:

Hezbollah are Shiites.

ISIS is Sunni.

Saudi Arabians are mostly Sunni.

Hamas are Sunnis.

Iran is mostly Shiite.

Assad’s Syria is Allawite. The rest of Syria is mostly Sunni.

In the new Middle East, it seems the traditional religious lines are invisible when it comes to who is fighting whom.

Israel’s Northern Border is Heating Up – IDF Officers

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Israel northern border is heating up, and the trend is expected to continue, senior IDF officer from the Northern Command warned, according to a Nana10 report.

The officers said there is an increase in the number of incidents along the border, including Hezbollah surveillance as well as openly armed terrorists walking around freely, in direct contravention of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701.

Yesterday’s attack that wounded two IDF soldiers was the first time that Hezbollah openly took credit for an attack in a long time.

Hezbollah, an Iranian client, is trying to send a message of deterrence to Israel, that Hezbollah can freely act along Lebanon’s borders against Israel, even as it is busy fighting ISIS in Syria.

Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General, Sheikh Naim Qassem said “Israel knows that the opposition [Hezbollah] is alert and will respond to any action at the appropriate time.”

Hezbollah knows that Israel doesn’t want to have a war so soon after Operation Protective Edge, and is taking advantage of that.

Hezbollah may have up to 100,000 missiles in Lebanon, and has been spending the past few years amassing as many as it can.

The open violations, the attacks and the attitude are indications that any deterrence Israel created in the last war with Hezbollah is quickly wearing off, and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, that Tzipi Livni touted as her great success at the time, has effectively collapsed.

Defense Minister Yaalon said that he is reexamining the civilian security budgets for northern towns. Their budgets were just cut a few days ago, and that may have been premature.

Despite the warning signs, Israel’s defense department is telling Israelis it’s still safe to travel up north during the Sukkot vacation. Tens of thousands of Israelis will be heading north for the holiday vacation.

Hezbollah Takes Credit, IDF Hits Two Hezbollah Positions

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Apparently Hezbollah isn’t busy enough fighting for Iran in Syria, trying to keep Assad’s regime for falling; they also decided to take credit for the attack along the Lebanon border that injured two IDF soldiers this afternoon.

Following the attack, the IDF fired back into Lebanon, hitting two Hezbollah positions.

Defense Minister Yaalon said that while Hezbollah are the ones that planted and set off the bombs, ultimately it is the Lebanese government which is responsible for what happens within their borders, despite Hezbollah’s state within a state.

IDF Sends Infiltrators Racing Back Across Israel’s Northern Border into Lebanon

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Unidentified infiltrators crossed into northern Israel from Lebanon early Sunday, according to a report from the IDF.

Soldiers spotted the suspects and sent them racing back across the border, an IDF spokesperson said.

The incident occurred Sunday morning “during a routine activity along the Israel-Lebanon border,” the IDF spokesperson said.

“The force responded by opening fire towards the suspects, who escaped north, returning to Lebanon. The incident is currently being reviewed,” the IDF spokesperson added.

Meanwhile two Turkish residents were wounded today (Sunday, Oct. 5) when a Syrian mortar shell scored a direct hit on a home in the Turkish border town of Suruc, the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

A second Syrian shell struck a house in the nearby town of Buyukkendirli. No one was wounded in that attack.

Iran, US Equip & Finance Lebanese Army to Fight ISIS

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Wartime makes the strangest bedfellows. Iran and the United States are both equipping the Lebanese army so its soldiers can protect the nation from encroaching cross-border attacks by terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Iran announced Tuesday that it has decided to boost Beirut’s coffers with an extra gift of cash for the Lebanese Army, which will also strengthen Tehran’s ties with the country as well.

Ali Shamkhani, director of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement during a visit to meet with Lebanese officials in Beirut.

“The Islamic Republic has decided to give a military grant to the Lebanese Army,” Shamkhani told reporters at a news conference, Associated Press reported. This is the first time Iran has announced an offer of military assistance to Lebanon, although it has generously supported the country’s Hezbollah terrorist organization for many years.

Tehran will supply the country with military equipment to be used in fighting radical Islamist factions, according to Shamkhani. “The state of Lebanon welcomed this grant,” he told reporters, but did not reveal which equipment Iran was planning to supply.

At least 20 Lebanese soldiers and a police officer were kidnapped by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization in a cross-border raid from Syria in early August. ISIS has since beheaded two of the soldiers, and another was murdered separately, also while in captivity. Of the group, eighteen are still being held hostage in Syria.

Lebanon’s military and other security forces are also supported by funding from the United States and Saudi Arabia, and have been for some time.

Recently the United States also sent several shipments of arms to the country’s army in order to help Israel’s northern neighbor protect itself from ISIS, which has just formed a new alliance with the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organization.

Jabhat al-Nusra currently controls the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing — the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria. ISIS controls the Iraqi side of two border crossings between Iraq and Syria, and that belonging to the sole crossing between Iraq and Jordan.

Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra Joins ISIS In Syria

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terror group in Syria is reconciling with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The two groups have been at odds for most of the past year. However, last week’s U.S.-led air strikes in northern and eastern Syria have prompted Jabhat al-Nusra to renew its ties with ISIS, declaring the strikes a “war on Islam” in an audio statement released this past weekend.

Scores of al-Nusra members were killed in the first wave of U.S.-led air strikes, leading the group to vow retaliation for the attacks. The two terror groups are now holding war councils together, according to a senior source quoted by Britain’s London-based newspaper, The Guardian.

A spokesperson for the group told the paper that 73 members had defected to ISIS on Friday alone. More are planning to do the same this week. “We are in a long war,” al-Nusra spokesperson Abu Firas al-Suri said in a statement posted on social networking sites. “This war will not end in months or years; this war could last for decades.”

U.S. President Barack Obama admitted the intelligence community had underestimated the situation in both Iraq and Syria.

In an interview on “60 Minutes” broadcast on the CBS network, Obama said, “Over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves. And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

That ‘ground zero’ is barely a fired mortar shell away from Israel’s northern border with Syria. “Spillover” from the Syrian civil war raging between government troops and rebel forces has resulted in shell fire landing not only in Israeli territory but also in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.

Of more concern is the fact that Jabhat al-Nusra controls the Quneitra border crossing — the sole crossing between Israel and Syria — and that ISIS now controls the border crosssings between Iraq and Syria, and the Iraqi side of the crossing with Jordan.

Israeli military officials are monitoring the situation closely.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/al-qaeda-linked-jabhat-al-nusra-joins-isis-in-syria/2014/09/29/

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