Israel Escalates Military Operations in Lebanon as Hezbollah Conflict Shifts Northward

By Yoni Weiss

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon, Thursday. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

As the intensity of fighting in the Gaza Strip subsides, attention from Israel’s senior government and military officials shifts northward, particularly to the Lebanon border, Yediot reported Friday. Following the elimination of five senior Hezbollah commanders and subsequent rocket barrages into the Galilee region, the military confrontation in the north appears to be reaching a critical point.

The Air Force continued its strikes in southern Lebanon, targeting locations in Damascus and the village of Kafra. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi conducted a situation assessment in the Galilee, assuring residents of safety despite Hezbollah’s involvement in the conflict. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expressed plans to escalate firepower against Hezbollah, emphasizing the Security Cabinet’s commitment to eliminating the commanders.

Despite the challenges faced by displaced residents and ongoing rocket barrages, the IDF claims that the current achievements in the war have shifted the balance of power against Hezbollah’s threat to northern settlements, although acknowledging the campaign is not yet concluded.

Reports suggest that limited attacks, influenced by diplomatic efforts to counter Hezbollah without escalating the conflict, have inflicted significant losses on Hezbollah’s upper echelon. Recent weeks saw the elimination of five senior Hezbollah members, including brigade commanders with strategic control over areas near the Israel border.

Hezbollah’s senior commanders, known for their long-term presence and command in designated areas, have been key targets. The IDF focuses on targeting Hezbollah’s infrastructure along the border and striking its operatives, aiming to transform the security landscape in the north.

As Hezbollah extends its rocket fire toward the Golan Heights and Mount Meron, the Air Force expands its strike range, reaching areas like Sidon, Beirut, and even Baalbek. The military’s Fire Control Center prepares for daily battles, utilizing an extensive arsenal of targets developed over years.

Lt. Gen. Halevi emphasized that the operation will persist until Hezbollah is pushed far from the fence. Amid political negotiations, the military works to reshape the region beyond the border, creating a different reality for the local population who fled and were supportive of Hezbollah.

While acknowledging Lt. Gen. Halevi’s vision, Galilee residents insist on any agreement definitively eliminating the missile threat and preventing terrorist infiltrations.

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