JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli military has begun its largest training and war games exercises in nearly two decades along its border with Lebanon. The two weeks of exercises, which began Monday evening, will employ the biggest military force since 1998.
The maneuvers will simulate a war with Hezbollah based in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah began as a terror group, but now features an army of nearly 40,000 men. Israel's war games are clearly meant to caution a number of governments hostile to Israel, including Iran's. The last large-scale conflict fought by Israeli Defense Forces was against Hezbollah in 2006.
Some of the current exercises will involve soldiers posing as civilians in evacuation drills designed to help the military evacuate wounded citizens under rocket fire.
Hezbollah has rebuilt since the last war in Lebanon and now has 100,000 mostly short-range rockets pointed as Israel. Thousands more rockets have the potential to reach nearly all of Israel's population. Nearly one million people live in the north within range of the short-distance rockets.
Israeli soldiers will not be allowed to have cell phones or other digital devices during the exercises in order to better simulate an actual war.