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Fears of an escalation on Israel's northern and southern borders

Tensions are higher this week with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Syrian regime

    Israel's closed border with Lebanon
    Israel's closed border with Lebanon (Photo: Flash90)

    Tensions rose on Israel’s northern and southern borders this week amid warnings of a violent escalation in Gaza and Lebanon.

    Israeli security officials have repeatedly warned in recent weeks that Iran has plans to build a factory for upgrading Hezbollah missiles with advanced guidance systems.

    On Monday, a senior Israeli naval officer warned that Hezbollah was trying to acquire cruise missiles that would let it launch a strike on Israel's offshore platforms in the Mediterranean gas fields.

    These came as Lebanon’s leaders held a public meeting to warn against Israeli energy exploration in the disputed “sector 9”, which is claimed by both countries.

    Following the meeting, Hezbollah threatened to attack Israel if it did drill for gas in the disputed waters. 

    Hours later, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a missile research centre inside Syria was bombed from the air.

    Israeli sources refused to comment, but the Syrian government blamed Israel for the strike.

    The target has been attacked twice previously – in 2013 and 2017 – and Israel may have been sending the Iranians, who are believed to operate the centre together with Hezbollah and the Assad regime, another warning not to go ahead with plans to build new bases and missile factories in Syria and Lebanon.

    Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas leaders warned that Israel had held military exercises for a potential attack and assessed the chances of war at “95 per cent”.

    Israeli officials denied that there was any ulterior motive, however IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot warned the cabinet on Sunday in an irregular briefing that unless solutions were found to alleviate both the financial crisis in Gaza and improve the water and energy situation, the chances of escalation would dramatically increase.

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