By D. Bender
A lethal anti-tank rocket attack on IDF forces last Wednesday on the Lebanon border by Hezbollah was originally intended to be the opening salvo of a far-larger operation against Israel in February and March, and was not “merely” a revenge attack for an earlier Israeli strike which killed over 10 Hezbollah and Iranian military officials on Jan. 18th in Syria, Israel’s NRG News reported Sunday.
In conversation with an unnamed “European businessman,” said to hold close ties to both Hezbollah and Iranian officials, the article averred that the use of at least five highly advanced Kornet missiles by Hezbollah terrorists to hit a single patrol vehicle didn’t make sense tactically, and indicated that their presence in the area, in fact, meant a more serious operation against Israel was in the offing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would exact a heavy price for Hezbollah’s attack which took place in the Mt. Dov area and killed two soldiers and wounded seven others. In his comments on the attack near the nexus of the Israeli, Lebanese, and Syrian borders, Netanyahu warned that “Israel was prepared to operate on all fronts.”
The morning of the Hezbollah attack, the European said he called friends at Hezbollah’s headquarters in southern Beirut’s Dahiyeh quarter, but the phone rang unanswered. Later, he caught them by cellphone and was briefly told by “Ali,” that “We were asked to leave the offices yesterday. We were told to keep our calls short because the Israeli army was listening.”
From Ali’s tone, the European concluded that Hezbollah felt they were “on the verge of war,” a feeling which “came as no surprise to any party,” the businessman noted.
“Last week, after the assassination of Jihad Mughniyeh, I spoke to Iranian friends in Beirut. They are well connected – both in Beirut and in Tehran. They felt Israel knew very well who was in the convoy, and that Israel was aware of the growing trickle of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Quds Forces on the Golan, and realized that something was brewing. From the Iranian perspective, Israel’s air strike on the convoy was intended to ‘mark a line in the sand.'”
The Guards’ commander said after Israel’s strike that they should expect “ruinous thunderbolts” in response to the attack, which killed Gen. Mohammed Ali Allah Dadi, along with noted Hezbollah operative, Jihad Mughniyeh, and some 10 others.