UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Israel Launches Airstrikes on Lebanon after Rocket Attacks

By Linda Gradstein August 05, 2021

Israel launched at least two airstrikes on Lebanon, the most severe such strikes since 2006, after gunmen fired three rockets at Israel on Wednesday. At the same time, Israeli officials stepped up their rhetoric against Iran.

It was not clear who was behind the rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel, whether a Palestinian organization or the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which is funded by Iran. But Israeli analysts say that even if Hezbollah was not behind the rocket fire, it is in control in south Lebanon and could have prevented it.

Hezbollah's al-Manar TV said Israeli warplanes carried out two raids on the town of Mahmudiya, about 12 kilometers from the Israeli border.

Israeli Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel, the former head of Israel's counterterrorism bureau, said it is more likely that it is Palestinians than Hezbollah.

"I believe Hezbollah is not behind the last event," Nuriel said. "I believe that Hezbollah is too busy with what (they) have to deal with in Lebanon, and those organizations, Palestinian terror organizations in the southern part of Lebanon are trying to show solidarity to their brothers in Gaza and yet, we cannot accept it as routine and therefore the response last night was a bit wider than in the past, and we shall see what the future will bring us."

Israel and Hezbollah have had several armed conflicts in the past, including a 34-day war in 2006 that ended in a U.N.-brokered cease fire.

Most Israeli analysts said they believe that neither Israel nor Hezbollah want a broader conflict right now, and do not believe the situation will escalate out of control.

At the same time, Israeli officials stepped up the rhetoric against Iran, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz saying Israel is ready to strike Iran. Gantz was asked in an interview with Ynet news site whether Israel was ready to attack Iran if it needed to, and he answered "yes." At the same time Gantz said Israel is leading an international effort to stop Tehran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon as it is an international problem.

Gantz said that Iran is just 10 weeks away from acquiring enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. He was speaking to ambassadors from countries that are part of the United Nations Security Council. He said that now is the time for deeds and words are not enough, adding that "it is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds, otherwise the attacks will continue."

His remarks came as tensions continued to rise between Iran and Israel. An Israeli-linked ship was struck by drones last week killing two people. The U.S., Israel and Britain blamed the attack on Iran, which denied any involvement.

Former head of Israeli military intelligence Amos Yadlin said that the current tensions are part of a long struggle between Israel and Iran.

Between Israel and Iran there is a covert shadow campaign, a war. It is not a full-scale war, it is not war with all the national capabilities, the national powers, but both sides are attacking each other, mostly without claiming responsibility.

The stepped-up tensions between Israel and Iran come as new Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, seen as a hardliner, is taking office.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list