Photo: Ariel Hermoni (IMoD)

IDF simulates combat in Lebanon

Israel is warning the Iran-backed Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon of “heavy consequences” if it attempts to challenge the security of the Jewish state.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz conducted a tour of the IDF Northern Command. Accompanied by senior IDF personnel, he observed a training session simulating combat on Lebanese soil, held a situational assessment, and visited an underground tunnel dug by Hezbollah and subsequently neutralized by the IDF.

“The IDF is in a state of readiness across the entire northern border and is certainly optimally prepared on the Lebanese front,” said the top defense chief, before going on to revealed that Hezbollah is employing new strategies.

“We are aware of attempts by Hezbollah to challenge us, including through new tactics, and we are prepared to face any threat,” said Gantz, underscoring that, “If Hezbollah challenges the IDF and the State of Israel, it will bear very, very heavy consequences – and I hope it does not do so.”

Referencing the role of the Islamic Republic, he said: “Iran, with its subversive regional activity, is continuing to support Hezbollah and other terror organizations while also trying to obtain military nuclear capability – which cannot be allowed. The State of Israel will continue working with its partners in general, and the United States in particular, in order to thwart Iran’s efforts to cross the nuclear threshold,” he said.

Alongside covert efforts to hamper Iran’s nuclear aspirations which occasionally become public, Jerusalem is also stepping up diplomatic efforts to ensure Israeli security concerns are acknowledged by global powers amid the Vienna talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) pact.

During discussion on key bilateral and regional issues with visiting-British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stressed the urgency of confronting Tehran’s nuclear aspirations and malign activity.

Attempts by the administration of US President Joe Biden to revive the JCPOA are also expected to separate high-level talks in Washington next week, when IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat are scheduled to hold meetings with their respective American counterparts and other senior officials.