Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz last week threatened increased action at Israel’s northern border with Lebanon if the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters continue their attacks against Israel, CBS News reported.
During a December 27 press conference, Gantz issued a warning to the world, saying the situation at Israel’s northern border must change. He said the residents in communities along the border who were evacuated due to the attacks “need to be returned to their homes.”
Saying that time was running out for a “political settlement,” Gantz warned that if the Lebanese government and the rest of the world would not stop the attacks on Israel and “distance Hezbollah from the border,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would do it.
Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the IDF said the Israeli military was at “high readiness” to expand fighting in the north but added that the priority is to first “return the residents home with a sense of security,” which he said would take time.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen toured the northern border on December 27 and insisted that Hezbollah must respect the 2006 ceasefire which included terms for the militia group to withdraw from the border area. He said if it does not, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iranian-backed group, should know that he would be next.
Cohen insisted that Israel would continue pursuing a diplomatic solution but failing that, “all options are on the table.”
Since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, Hezbollah has been regularly firing artillery and rockets into northern Israel and sending drones over the border. Israel began evacuating communities near the Lebanon border in mid-October, ultimately displacing around 200,000 Israelis.
At least nine Israeli soldiers and four civilians have been killed in Hezbollah attacks.
Israel has retaliated against the attacks by firing into Lebanon, killing more than 150 people, mainly members of Hezbollah.