Israel issued a stern warning to Hezbollah via the United Nations that it will not tolerate any act of aggression following the death of a Hezbollah terrorist in Damascus last Monday, sources told Lebanese news outlet Al-Mayadeen.
Israel also sent a message of de-escalation to Hezbollah via Moscow, Kuwaiti news outlet Al Jarida reported on Friday, quoting an unnamed source.
Israeli officials expect Iran-backed Hezbollah to retaliate for the death of Ali Kamel Mohsen Jawad, along with two other terrorists, in an alleged Israeli airstrike in near Damascus airport Monday evening.
On Thursday, the IDF began reinforcing the country’s northern border with infantry troops after Hezbollah threatened to retaliate, “from Lebanese soil,” over the alleged Israeli airstrike.
Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that Lebanese sources confirmed Hezbollah had decided to respond to the alleged Israeli airstrike but is facing a tough dilemma. The consequences of retaliating could be severe, but failing to respond to the death of the operative could harm morale within the organization’s ranks.
According to Al-Mayadeen, meanwhile, Israel said it did not intend to kill Jawad and that he was not the target of the reported airstrike. The sources speaking to the Hezbollah-affiliated media outlet added that the terrorist group rejected the Israeli warnings.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has “instructed the IDF to be on high alert in the northern region,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement late Motzoei Shabbos.
“The IDF and the entire defense establishment will act decisively against any threat to Israeli citizens. Lebanon and Syria will bear direct responsibility for any action taken from their territory,” the statement continued.