The Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah carried out a series of rocket attacks on Israeli army positions in northern Israel near the Lebanese border on Saturday. According to a Reuters source, during the attack the militants used a new, more destructive type of missile that had never been used in combat before. The Israeli army (IDF) assesses the situation similarly, writes the Jerusalem Post, citing unnamed military sources.
Neither side has released more detailed information about what the missile’s target was, what damage it caused, and what exactly it hit. According to the movement, it should have landed on Israeli territory across the border opposite the Lebanese villages of Rmaich and Ayta al-Shab.
It is not clear exactly what type of missile it was. Hezbollah is silent about it and the Israeli army does not have accurate information either. However, the military wing of the organization, which Western states label as terrorist, is considered one of the most heavily armed non-state actors in the world (we wrote about it here).
Thanks to Iranian help, the movement has an extensive arsenal of longer-range missiles with more precise targeting than, for example, the missiles possessed by the Palestinian radical movement Hamas, which also relies largely on Tehran’s helping hand.
Thanks to them, Hezbollah can cause significant damage to Israeli infrastructure and complicate access to Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
Comparison of forces
The Israeli army has many times more resources, equipment and numbers of soldiers against the forces of Hamas and Hezbollah. Both movements are still able to compete with it, aided by supplies from Iran, as well as rich experience with asymmetric warfare.
Rockets have been flying across the Israeli-Lebanese border since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which was sparked by the Palestinian movement’s terrorist attack on southern Israel on October 7. This is the biggest escalation of fighting on this border since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. So far, however, attacks by both sides have been limited to border areas.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah spoke about the intention to continue attacks against the Jewish state on Friday in his first speech since the beginning of October. He spoke about the fact that the escalation on the Lebanese front will depend on the events in Gaza, where Israeli ground forces also entered a week ago, and Israel’s behavior towards Lebanon (we wrote here).
During the speech, he also warned that the attacks so far were not all the movement planned to carry out. The opening of the second front of the war in Israel cannot be ruled out. However, IDF units already strengthened their presence on the Lebanese border at the beginning of October.
The Israeli army responded to Saturday’s rockets from Lebanon by bombing Hezbollah positions. Eyewitnesses spoke of one of the biggest Israeli attacks since October 7. IDF units used aircraft, howitzers and tanks, the Jerusalem Post website reported.
The target was the area around the Lebanese village of Khiam. “Four shots landed near Khiam. No one was injured in the attack,” Fúad Kreis, who lives in the village, told Reuters. “The intensity of attacks from both sides increased significantly on Saturday,” he added.