Hezbollah took its shot. After years of relative peace between Lebanon and Israel, the militant Shiite wing of the Lebanese government finally had a mandate and viable targets to hit in retaliation to Israeli strikes in Syria and Beirut itself last week. Hezbollah finally had the justification it has been craving to start a war with Israel.
But they failed. After the smoke cleared from the “historic” attack on Israeli forces just across the border, reports from the IDF revealed not a single soldier was injured, let alone killed. The war they want will have to wait until at least the next attack. In the meantime, Israel continues to have success both militarily and strategically.
What’s the next move for Hezbollah? Their failure to rain down death on Israelis is a shocking development for a group that is trying to establish itself as the dominant force in the multi-cultural government. But if they can’t kill one soldier, what makes them believe they can sustain through an all-out war? These are the questions asked by JPost author Anna Ahronheim:
Reports out of Lebanon claimed that Hezbollah had succeeded in hitting a military vehicle “killing and injuring” those inside. The IDF said that a “number of hits were confirmed” after several anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon toward an Israeli military base and IDF vehicles.
There were reports of casualties and injuries that were evacuated to hospitals in Safed and Haifa by helicopter.
Residents living within four kilometers of the border were also ordered to remain in their homes and open their bomb shelters.
Even while the picture was unclear, the IDF hit back hard, sending more than 100 artillery shells toward targets in south Lebanon, including an airstrike on the Hezbollah cell which carried out the attack.
But when the smoke cleared, the IDF stated: “There are no injuries or fatalities to our troops.”
Hezbollah retaliated against Israel, but they failed to hit their mark.
The IDF had been preparing for an attack by the Shi’ite Lebanese terror group for more than one week. They closed roads along the border for military vehicles and, even according to Hezbollah, placed dolls in some military vehicles.
But was that it? Did Hezbollah just botch their long-awaited strike?
Reports from Lebanon say that the anti-tank attack was in response to an Israeli airstrike last week in Syria, which killed two members of the group. But that same night, a drone attack in Beirut’s Dahiyeh neighborhood was blamed on Israel.
Lebanon’s LBCI TV news channel reported that Hezbollah warned, “Retaliation over drones will be in kind, and will be at its own time and according to its own circumstances.”
With Israeli elections in two weeks. stability is needed by nearly everyone running. Attacks against Israeli’s will cause election turmoil and it’s impossible to know who will benefit from it. As complex as Israeli politics are, sentiment towards the various parties can shift on a single event, even if it’s unrelated to policy proposals within the parties.
But Hezbollah’s concerns have nothing to do with the election. If they did, they wouldn’t have attacked now. Better to attack in the days leading up to the election rather than two weeks in advance. If anything, the feeling that peace will prevail benefits the anti-Likud movement which would therefore benefit Lebanon. This latest botched attack plays into the hands of the hawkish conservatives trying to retain power in Israel.
One thing is certain following Hezbollah’s failure: They are not nearly sophisticated enough militarily to pose a threat to Israel should war break out. With Iran losing power and Saudi Arabia’s influence growing, it may be time for Lebanon to lay low.
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