By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line
March 19, 2019
Former Israel Defense Forces chief-of-staff Gadi Eizenkot offered a small glimpse into ongoing tensions along the borders with Syria and Lebanon, revealing that during his tenure that ended in January the Jewish state repeatedly came close to full-blown conflict with Iranian terror proxy Hizbullah. “There were a few instances and days where the distance between events and escalation to the point of war…was a hair’s breadth,” Eizenkot was quoted as saying. Israel and Hizbullah last fought a major battle in the summer of 2006, although the sides have since experienced numerous deadly altercations. Top Hizbullah commanders reportedly have been eliminated by Israeli air strikes in Syria, including, most notably, Jihad Mughniyeh in 2015. In response to that targeted killing, Hizbullah fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF convoy, murdering two soldiers. Most recently, Eisenkot oversaw Operation Northern Shield, launched in December, to locate and destroy Hizbullah cross-border attack tunnels. The situation has become more combustible as Israel has upped its attacks on Iranian assets and installations in Syria, some of them manned by Hizbullah operatives. Jerusalem has vowed to prevent Tehran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria and from transferring advanced weaponry to its Shiite underling in neighboring Lebanon. As a result, Eizenkot said that the threat of war had increased over the past three years and warned that Hizbullah “is a strong organization that has gained experience…and wants to prepare an attack plan to conquer the Galilee and bring 5,000 fighters underground” into Israel.
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