JERUSALEM, Israel – Hezbollah's deputy leader vowed to retaliate against Israel with a surprise strike but said a new war remains unlikely. Despite Hezbollah’s reluctance to go to war with Israel, their latest threat demonstrates how high tensions are in the region.
On Wednesday, Lebanese soldiers shot at what they claim were Israeli reconnaissance drones violating Lebanese airspace. While on the other side of the border, the IDF remains on high alert and Israeli troops have created some closed military zones. These are just two recent examples that a shadow war between Iran, its Middle East proxies, and Israel has come out into the open.
"We are now seeing a situation in which a kind of regional conflict involving a whole series of Iranian proxies and allies including Hezbollah, all of which threaten Israel are basically on the brink of what could be a bad misstep on either side and could bring the region into another conflict,” Seth Frantzman, author of After ISIS said.
Recently, Israel stopped an Iranian-led attack against the Golan Heights with killer drones. Hezbollah claims Israeli drones attacked their Beirut headquarters and US sources also confirmed that Israel has also attacked Shiite militias in Iraq.
"What's happened is that there are Iranian allied Shiite militias there that are very powerful. They have ballistic missiles. And some of their warehouses have mysteriously blown up in the past month,” Frantzman explained. “There's been four different or five different incidents. They're blaming Israel for some of those and the whole piece of the puzzle that we have to understand is this is all part of an Iranian land bridge that starts in Tehran and goes through Iraq to Syria to Lebanon."
Former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and current prominent member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party told CBN News that Israel will respond to any attack.
"We're challenged on three fronts and Israel has all the right in the world to defend itself. And we will,” Barkat said, adding that Israel is fighting for its survival.
"If you look at the macro, it's very clear that Iran, they want to destroy the State of Israel. They're using their proxies, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and many of the regimes, Shiite regimes in Syria to create infrastructure to prepare to strike on Israel. It is all tied,” he explained.
Recently Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to calm down after he threatened to attack the Jewish state.
Barkat says Nasrallah should be careful.
“If they start and initiate a round of violence, Israel will make sure that violence does not pay and they will pay a very heavy price and I think that Nasrallah knows that very, very well,” Barkat said.
Hezbollah’s deputy leader warned Israel to expect a "calculated strike" but that he wanted to avoid a new war with Israel. But calculated strikes are not an exact science. Thirteen years ago, a Hezbollah ambush on an Israeli patrol began the second Lebanon war that lasted 34 days. Some are concerned a miscalculation could once again plunge the region into another war.