(Costa Mesa, California) — Are we heading towards another war between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror movement in Lebanon? Tensions are rapidly rising. Israeli intelligence indicates that Iran and Hezbollah have been planning a series of major attacks against civilians along Israel’s northern border. Now, Israel appears to have taken pre-emptive action, killing an Iranian general and several of his top operatives in an airstrike. Iran and Hezbollah are vowing revenge.
If that weren’t troubling enough, Russia and Iran have just signed a dramatic military agreement that bodes ill for Israel and the epicenter, something I have been writing and warning about for many years.
I’m here in Costa Mesa today and will be speaking here Wednesday evening as part of The Third Target book tour. But here are the stories I’m tracking today:
Russia and Iran sign military cooperation deal (AP)
Iran general killed with Hezbollah fighters in Israel raid (AFP)
The Attack in the Golan Exposes Iran’s Growing Presence along Israel’s Borders (JCPA)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief: Israel should expect destructive thunderbolts (Jerusalem Post)
Iron Dome batteries said deployed as north braces for Hezbollah response — IDF chief says army ‘prepared’ day after Hezbollah members killed in strike; leave canceled for some units near border (Times of Israel)
Excerpts from Washington Free Beacon article:
Iran on Monday promised that Hezbollah would deliver “crushing response” to the Israeli attack over the weekend, which killed six Iranian agents, including a top-level commander, and five Hezbollah members.
“The experience of the past shows that the resistance current will give a crushing response to the Zionist regime’s terrorist moves with revolutionary determination and in due time and place,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was quoted as saying.
The Israeli strike came just days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared that the terror group was preparing for a war in Israel’s northern Galilee region.
It also occurred just a week after Iranian military leaders announced that they are operating missile sites in Syria, which potentially include a nuclear facility.
Senior Iranian and Hezbollah commanders were likely planning a sophisticated invasion of Israel’s northern border in the weeks before they were killed by an Israeli airstrike over the weekend, according to Major General Eyal Ben Reuven, the former deputy head of the Israeli Defense Forces Northern Command.
The accuracy of Israel’s strike and the high-level nature of those Iranian and Hezbollah commanders killed indicates planning for a militant incursion into Israel’s northern region, according to Reuven, who said the airstrike shows a “very high level of intelligence” on Israel’s part.
The high-level nature of the Iranian and Hezbollah operatives targeted by Israel suggests that an attack on Israel was imminent, according to Reuven, who handled top intelligence in the region during his time serving in the IDF….
Excerpts from an Agence France Presse story:
“An Israeli strike on Syria killed an Iranian general, Tehran confirmed Monday, as thousands of supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah gathered to bury one of six fighters killed in the same raid,” reports Agence France Presse. “The attack on Sunday near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights enraged Hezbollah’s supporters, but analysts said the group would avoid a major escalation with Israel….”
A source close to Hezbollah said six Iranians had been killed in the attack. Hezbollah told AFP that it was not the source of that toll. Among Hezbollah’s dead was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of an assassinated commander from the group, and Mohammed Issa, a commander responsible for Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and Iraq….
The strike came days after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to retaliate against Israel for its repeated strikes on targets in Syria and boasted the movement was stronger than ever. He touted its sophisticated arsenal, including Fateh-110 missiles, which have a range of 200 kilometres (125 miles) or more and are capable of hitting much of Israel.
Analysts said the precision Israeli strike, days after Nasrallah’s bellicose remarks, stood to embarrass Hezbollah. ‘What happened is that the Israelis called Hezbollah’s bluff last night,’ said Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University in Beirut. But he said Hezbollah’s response was likely to be limited ‘because if it retaliates, it will be another war. Hezbollah is in Syria and it is not ready for another war against Israel.’”
How serious is the ISIS threat to Israel & Jordan? My interview with “The Times of Israel.”