Tzachi Hanegbi, the National Security Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acknowledged the limited military operations against Hezbollah, which are taking place simultaneously with the ongoing war in Gaza, warning the Lebanese group not to take any action that could lead to the destruction of Lebanon.
Hanegbi stated in a press conference broadcast on television that Israel is focusing its combat efforts on the Gaza Strip, where armed individuals from Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on towns in southern Israel a week ago, emphasizing that his country is “trying not to get dragged into a war on two fronts.”
These statements by the Israeli official come after Netanyahu’s visit to Israeli infantry troops near the Gaza Strip just before a potential ground assault on the Palestinian territory. He stated that the limited border skirmishes with Lebanon show that Hezbollah‘s actions are still “below the escalation phase.”
He added, “We hope that Hezbollah does not actually cause the destruction of Lebanon because if a war erupts, the outcome will be no less than that,” as Israel has repeatedly threatened intensive strikes to stop the rockets launched by the group from its arsenal.
Just days before the Hamas attack that resulted in the deaths of nearly 1,300 Israelis, Hanegbi said in an interview with the media that intelligence indicated that Hamas was incapable of attacking Israel.
He added, “That was a mistake,” pointing out that the incorrect assessment was common among Israeli intelligence agencies. He continued, “There is no doubt that the State of Israel did not fulfill its mission.”
Reports that Egypt had warned Israel in advance of the October 7th attack were denied as “false news.” However, a separate report confirmed that the head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, received unusual intelligence information before the attack.
Hanegbi stated that the head of Shin Bet held a meeting about this intelligence information at 4 a.m. on the day of the attack, but nothing was gleaned from it regarding what happened two and a half hours later.
Hezbollah announced today that it attacked an Israeli monitoring and observation center in the Shebaa Farms in southern Lebanon, causing extensive damage. Earlier, the Iran-backed group stated that it attacked five Israeli military sites with precision-guided missiles and mortar shells in the same area.
The Israeli army earlier reported that they spotted “terrorist commandos trying to enter Israeli territory from Lebanon before they were targeted by a drone and many of them were killed.”
Additionally, two Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli bombardment targeting the southern village of Shebaa, as confirmed by its mayor, Mohammad Harb.
The French presidency said that Hezbollah and the Lebanese people must “exercise restraint to avoid opening a second front in the region, with Lebanon being its first victim.”
They emphasized the “need not to provide any pretext that would lead Lebanon back into war,” noting that “Lebanon has been greatly weakened by the absence of effective authorities” for several months.
The military escalation on the front lines between Hezbollah and the Israeli army comes against the backdrop of the Israeli forces‘ continued intensive aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege since 2006. These airstrikes have destroyed entire neighborhoods and resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians.