Israel’s northern border has seen many changes during the past year. Between the threat of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Syrian Civil War just across the border, the IDF cautiously observes a vulnerable and deteriorating security situation with the threat of radical Islam.
Hezbollah: Iran’s Proxy at Israel’s border
Hezbollah is one of the world’s largest, most sophisticated, wealthiest and most militarily capable terrorist organizations. Created, trained, funded and deployed as a proxy of the Iranian government, with operations spanning across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, the Shi’ite group has effectively taken over the many regions of Lebanon, launched thousands of rockets at Israel, and murdered hundreds of innocent civilians.
On August 14, 2006, Resolution 1701 ended the 2nd Lebanon War and prohibited Hezbollah’s presence in southern Lebanon. 9 years later, Hezbollah’s stronghold on the region not only remains intact, but more dangerous than ever.
Armed with an arsenal of 100,000 rockets capable of reaching every point on Israel’s map, Hezbollah is one of the main threats to the country. As recently as June 2015, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, declared:
“I clearly say to Israel: Hezbollah threatens to displace millions of Israelis in the next war.”
The January 28, 2015 attack on an IDF patrol near Mount Dov, with the use of state-of-the-art Russian manufactured anti-tank missiles, proves the threat Hezbollah continues to pose.
Recently, footage showing the group’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War has emerged. This footage documents Hezbollah’s use of modern military equipment such as advanced UAVs for offensive and intelligence-gathering means.
Benefiting from Iran’s financial and military help and using the Syrian battlefield to gain combat experience, Hezbollah and its weapons arsenal menace the lives of millions.
The Syrian Civil War: Global Jihad on the Border
Four and a half years into the Syrian Civil War, the situation across the border is more volatile than ever. Occasional spillovers of the conflict have seen rockets and mortars fall into Israeli territory, and the sound of the ongoing fighting can be heard on a daily basis at the border. But in the midst of the chaotic situation in Syria, radical Islamist groups funded and armed by Iran have recently attacked Israel and threatened the lives of millions of Israeli civilians.
Just last August, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization present both in the Gaza Strip and in Syria, launched rockets against Israel’s Golan Heights and Galilee.
The PIJ’s headquarters are located in Damascus, Syria, but it also maintains bases in Beirut and Tehran. This terrorist organization has on numerous accounts revealed where it receives its training and funding.
In reaction to July’s attack, the IAF neutralized the terrorist cell responsible for the rocket fire.
In July 2014, at the beginning of the Israeli-Gaza conflict, they declared:
“We especially want to thank our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran (…) we won’t forget to send our gratitude to the brothers in Hezbollah, the Islamic resistance in South Lebanon. Particularly Hassan Nasrallah, for their stance and support, be it financial, military or moral support.”
However, despite the security situation, the IDF has continued to provide medical aid to over 1,700 Syrians fleeing the war-torn areas adjacent to Israel.
Israel’s northern front is undergoing an unprecedented change. The deteriorating security situation in both Syria and Lebanon allows Iranian-sponsored terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah or the Islamic Jihad to be virtually present on Israel’s border. But as always, the IDF is ready to face these threats and to protect Israel’s civilians.