Israeli military approves plan for invasion of southern Lebanon and new offensive against Hezbollah
06/23/2024 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Northern Command has approved a plan to invade southern Lebanon in a bid to curtail Hezbollah's increasingly successful strikes against military sites in northern Israel.

Hezbollah has been targeting Israeli military sites in northern Israel since Oct. 7 in solidarity with Palestinians and in a bid to divert Israeli military resources away from Gaza, resulting in an ongoing tit-for-tat of fire across the border. (Related: Hezbollah strikes several Israeli army bases, key defense factory.)

While both sides have been reluctant to turn the ongoing hostilities into a larger conflict, the two sides are increasingly signaling their intent to expand the fighting.

Israel's military establishment feels the need to retaliate after Hezbollah released evidence of one of its drones conducting a surveillance operation over major northern Israeli cities, including the port city of Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem (including occupied East Jerusalem) and Tel Aviv.

The nine-minute drone footage over Haifa was filmed in the daytime and showed both civilian and military areas, including malls, residential quarters, an alleged weapons manufacturing complex and IDF missile defense batteries.

"[Hezbollah Leader Hassan] Nasrallah boasts today about filming the ports of Haifa, operated by international companies from China and India, and threatens to attack them," responded Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on X, formerly Twitter, insinuating that an attack on Haifa would receive international condemnation.

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"We are very close to the moment of decision to change the rules against Hezbollah and Lebanon. In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely hit," Katz warned.

Hezbollah will cease attacks if Israel stops killing Palestinians

The Israeli military later confirmed through a statement from Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, commander of the Northern Command, whose operational territory includes the entirety of northern Israel and the front line with Hezbollah, that the IDF has approved plans to mount a large-scale ground assault across Israel's northern border and into much of southern Lebanon.

"As part of the situational assessment, operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were approved and validated, and decisions were taken on the continuation of increasing the readiness of troops in the field," said Gordin.

Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of research for the IDF's Military Intelligence Directorate, added that the Israeli military's approval of operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon is "part of the efforts to send a message to Hezbollah to scale down their activities and show readiness to move forward to some sort of settlement."

Hezbollah has noted that it has carried out more than 2,100 military operations against Israel since the beginning of Tel Aviv's war in Gaza in October. Reports indicate that Hezbollah has launched more than 5,000 rockets, anti-tank munitions and explosive or suicide drones at Israel since the conflict began.

Official casualty reports indicate that more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon, including some 300 Hezbollah fighters and around 100 civilians, including journalists and paramedics. In Israel, 17 soldiers and nine civilians have reportedly been killed.

The cross-border conflict has also displaced 90,000 people in southern Lebanon and 60,000 people in northern Israel.

Nasrallah has indicated in multiple previous statements that Hezbollah will only stop its attacks against Israel if it halts its invasion of Gaza, which has already killed over 37,000 Palestinians.

Kuperwasser similarly indicated that Israeli intelligence suggests that Hezbollah's increasing attacks on Israel in recent weeks were to force it to agree to a ceasefire and to end the alleged genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza. In this sense, the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah are still part of a "controlled escalation."

Meanwhile, the United States has been working overtime in an attempt to avert a broadening of the conflict. Amos Hochstein, an Israeli-born U.S. diplomat who has been working since late 2022 to get Hezbollah and Israel to agree to cease the conflict, recently visited Lebanese officials in Beirut and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to find a diplomatic solution to the cross-border fighting.

"The situation is serious," said Hochstein. "We have seen an escalation over the last few weeks, and what President Biden wants to do is to avoid a further escalation to a greater war."

Watch this clip discussing how Israel is warning Hezbollah of the possibility of "all-out war," including a possible invasion of Lebanon.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

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Yemen's Houthis attack bulk carrier in Red Sea with suicide drone boat – first time in this conflict.

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