Hizbollah and the IDF exchange threats

By Yaakov Katz, October 10, 2008

Israel and Hizbollah exchanged threats this week as the head of the IDF's Northern Command said that the military would use "disproportionate force" in any new round of violence with the Lebanese group.

In 2006, Israel fought a month-long inconclusive war against Hizbollah following the capture of two IDF reservists whose bodies were returned to Israel two months ago. Since the war, Israel claims that the Iran-backed group has amassed close to 40,000 missiles and rockets. Most of the weaponry is believed to be smuggled into Lebanon from Syria.

In an interview with Yediot Ahronot, Maj-Gen Gadi Eizenkot, military commander along Israel's northern border, said that the IDF had formulated a new plan to bombard villages used to launch missile attacks against Israel.

"What happened in the Dahiya neighbourhood [a bombed Hizbollah stronghold] in Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village where rockets are launched from into Israel," Mr Eizenkot said. "We will use disproportionate force and cause great damage since in our opinion these are not civilian villages but are military bases."

In addition, Israel is also threatening to strike at Lebanese government targets in a future war with Hizbollah in light of Beirut's decision to include the guerrilla group's right of "resistance" to "liberate Lebanese territories" in its list of governing principles. Hizbollah is part of the Lebanese government.
While a United Nations-brokered ceasefire has held up, the IDF believes that Hizbollah is planning attacks in the future, particularly to avenge the assassination of its military commander in Damascus earlier this year.

In an interview with a Gulf newspaper, Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, commander of Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, said that Israel was incapable of launching a new war against the group.

"The resistance is completely ready and Israel's threats do not scare [us]," Mr Kaouk told the Al-Hilaj newspaper. "This paper tiger state will collapse at the hands of resistance fighters."

Last updated: 12:14pm, October 8 2008