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Israel On Alert For More Trouble Along Lebanon Border
ICEJ NEWS - 05/21/2001
Israel's northern border continues to be plagued by violent demonstrations and cross-border terrorist attacks, thus making it a potential flashpoint for sparking a wider regional conflict.
Israeli military officers maintain that the Hizb'Allah terrorist militia is anxious to attack IDF forces along the border, or targets within Israel, in support of the Palestinian intifada. Israeli forces and civilian communities along the border are on alert this week in anticipation of trouble on Wednesday's one-year anniversary of the hasty IDF withdrawal from Lebanon last May. The likely area of attack remains the disputed Har Dov sector, also known as Sheba Farms.
Following the latest terrorist attack on Mount Dov last month, IDF forces have reduced their movements in the area, except those necessary for operational maneuvers. This is in order to reduce the number of potential targets for Hizb'Allah, which the IDF believes has already planted roadside bombs in great quantity over the last few days in preparation for a dramatic strike.
Israeli defense officials also have received information that Hizb'Allah has taken long-range Katyusha rocket launchers out of their storage dumps, apparently to ready them for use against Israel, ARMY RADIO reported Monday.
In an incident Friday, scores of Lebanese gathered at the "Good Fence" (Fatma Gate) border crossing near Metulla and began hurling stones across the security fence at IDF troops. Two demonstrators were lightly wounded when Israeli soldiers first fired warning shots, and then aimed towards their legs as they tried to break down the security fence. Hizb'Allah later announced that it would avenge Israel's "latest crime and blatant breach of international agreements" at a time and place of its choosing.
Hizb'Allah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivered a fiery address against Israel Sunday in Lebanon, stressing that his organization's "operations at Sheba Farms would continue... With regard to the Israeli violations and attacks on Lebanon, I am telling you that we are sick and tired and running out of patience ... When we take a decision to punish this enemy for any crime, I am telling you now, no one will speak out against us," vowed Nasrallah.
On Sunday, IDF deputy Chief of Staff Major General Moshe Ya'alon addressed the possibility of Israel slipping into a war in the North that would include Syria. Ya'alon said that Syria recognizes Israel's military superiority and is not interested in a declared war, but it could invest in escalating an armed struggle in Lebanon or the Palestinian territories.
In recent months, there have been clear indications of growing collusion between Hizb'Allah - backed by Syria and Iran - and terrorist factions in Palestinian areas. It is now believed that Hizb'Allah was the source of arms smuggled by sea from Lebanon to Gaza, including the huge arsenal captured by the Israel Navy earlier this month.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.