Report: Israel, Lebanon Agree to Hold Off on Attacks

YERUSHALAYIM -
A U.N peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) walks near a poster depicting Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Adaisseh, Lebanon, Monday. (Reuters/Ali Hashisho)

A report Wednesday said that Israel and Lebanon have reached mutual understandings to avoid direct attacks by either side on each other’s territory. The informal agreement, according to the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, was reached through contacts between third party interlocutors. Both sides are interested in avoiding conflict, and preventing attacks by either side, it is hoped, will calm the situation that has heated up in recent days.

The understandings come to avoid a breakout of hostilities between both sides after the recent uptick in warlike rhetoric after a weekend Israeli drone strike in Lebanon on Hezbollah terror targets. Lebanese President Michel Ayoun on Monday said that the attack was “a declaration of war,” reiterating comments from Iraqi officials earlier in the day after last week’s bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in that country. “We are a peaceful nation and do not seek war. But we will not accept any threats against us. We have the right to defend ourselves, our independence, and our land.”

Meanwhile, a report in the Times of London said that the Israeli drones strike took out what the newspaper called a “rare and expensive” industrial mixing machine which was used to create solid fuel, which would have aided Hezbollah’s efforts to develop long-range precision missiles. The destruction of the so-called “planetary mixer” has set the terror group’s plans back by at least a year, the report said.

The mixer was built in Iran and is very expensive, Israeli security sources told Channel 12. It took Hezbollah “a long time” to bring the device into Lebanon, and there are no replacements for it in the country. The security officials told Channel 12 that images published by Hezbollah clearly show that the device has been damaged beyond repair, making the Israeli action a success.

The mixer was vulnerable at the time of attack because it was on an open-bed truck, apparently in preparation for being moved to another location, the officials said.

At the height of bein hazmanim vacation period and in one of the country’s most traveled areas – the Upper Galilee, close to the Lebanese border – the IDF on Tuesday announced that it was limiting travel on some highways. The decision came after a security evaluation Monday night in the wake of threats by Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah that the terror group would respond to the drone strike.

“Await our response, and after it we will have guarantees that the enemy will not repeat its mistakes. A missile will be responded to with a missile, a drone with a drone, a grenade with a grenade, a bullet with a bullet, and blood with blood,” Nasrallah said.

In a statement, the IDF said that “after a security evaluation it was decided to limit traffic on several roads, with decisions to be made on a point by point basis in tandem with the current situation. At the same time, there are no special instructions for the public, and routine activities in the area can continue as usual.”

With that, there is a noticeable increase in the number of soldiers in the north, and the IDF has set up Iron Dome installations to intercept rockets that Lebanese terror groups may fire at Israel.