Israel’s Top Generals Approve Battle Plans For Lebanon Offensive

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The IDF released this photograph in making the announcement.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Tuesday announced that plans to launch an offensive in Lebanon against Hezbollah have been formally approved.

The IDF statement further said it is preparing to “accelerate readiness in the field” at a moment the situation is deteriorating, given the Lebanese paramilitary group backed by Iran has in the last days sent hundreds of drones and missiles into northern Israel. The statement spelled out that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were approved.”

The military cited that the head of the IDF’s Northern Command Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin and chief of the Operations Directorate Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk had given their final approval for the Lebanon battle plans.

However, whether the trigger is pulled on launching the major operation remains to be seen, as outside diplomatic efforts to intervene also intensify.

During an afternoon briefing Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder was asked by reporters about the newly approved Israeli battle plans. He responded: “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and speculate on what might happen other than to say no one wants to see a wider regional war.”

Hezbollah has been strongly signaling it could attack Israel’s third largest city of Haifa, which would mark a severe escalation, after Israel has launched airstrikes as deep into Lebanon as far north as Baalbek, as well as near the Syrian border in the northeast.

President Biden’s envoy Amos Hochstein has been in both Israel and Lebanon seeking to convince officials on both sides against escalation; however, the US doesn’t have direct contact with Hezbollah but instead tends to go through Lebanese government intermediaries. The White House has warned that an expanded Israeli offensive in Lebanon would be disastrous for both Israel and the whole region, given the war could widen to include Iran.

Israeli officials have said the IDF stands ready to “destroy” Hezbollah, and on Sunday IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said “Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation, one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region.”

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Whoever thinks he can hurt us and we will respond by sitting on our hands is making a big mistake.” He had added at a time when massive fires were spreading in the north due to constant Hezbollah drone and missile attacks, “We are prepared for very intense action in the north.” There are currently some 100,000 Israeli residents who remain outside their homes and communities due to the persistent threat of rocket attack.

 

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