Israel reinforces Lebanon border after Hezbollah threats

AP/Occupied Jerusalem
Filed on July 23, 2020 | Last updated on July 23, 2020 at 05.56 pm
Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon
Israeli soldiers stand atop a Namer IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) near the town of Avivim in northern Israeli along the border with Lebanon on Thursday.


Hezbollah group threatens to retaliate for a strike earlier this week that killed one of its fighters near Damascus International Airport

The Israeli military said on Thursday it was reinforcing the country's northern border with infantry troops "in accordance with the situational assessment."

The announcement comes after Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group threatened to retaliate for a strike earlier this week that killed one of its fighters near Damascus International Airport. The air strike, which also killed four other foreign fighters, was widely attributed to Israel.

Iran-backed Hezbollah has vowed in the past to retaliate for any fighter that Israel kills in Syria. The group fired a barrage of anti-tank missiles into Israel on September 1 last year after two of its fighters were killed in an Israeli air strike near Damascus days earlier.

That prompted a reprisal of heavy Israeli artillery fire in a rare burst of fighting between the bitter enemies. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that ended in a draw.

Israel did not comment on this week's strike and generally refrains from discussing its activities in neighbouring Syria. But it is believed to have carried out hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian forces during the nearly decade-long civil war.

Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters in the past years to fight alongside Syrian government forces.
Israel views Iran as a regional menace and has vowed to prevent any permanent Iranian military buildup in Syria, particularly near its frontier.

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