June 25, 2024

The Middle East is once again embroiled in military hostilities after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Saturday, including rocket and ground strikes against Israel. The Israeli military soon struck back and is currently engaged in an all-out offensive against the terrorist organization.

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But now, it appears a new front in the war has already opened up, with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) clashing with Hezbollah, an Islamic militant group backed by Iran.

Israel struck Iran-backed Hezbollah positions in Lebanon on Sunday in response to rocket and mortar attacks on its northern border in the second day of fending off Islamist militants.

UN peacekeepers on Sunday said they detected several rockets fired from southeast Lebanon toward Israeli-occupied territory and artillery fire from Israel to Lebanon in response.

“We are in contact with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line, at all levels, to contain the situation and avoid a more serious escalation,” officials with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said. “We urge everyone to exercise restrain and make use of UNIFIL’s liaison and coordination mechanisms to de-escalate and prevent a fast deterioration of the security situation.”

Despite typically staying on perpetual alert against the many threats against the country, Israel was nevertheless taken by surprise by the attack. The intensity of the assault drew comparisons to the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Hezbollah, along with Hamas, has long been a thorn in Israel’s side. The organization, supported by Iran to the tune of $700 million annually, continues to be a threat, and it is not surprising that its operatives took this opportunity to begin launching rockets at Israel from its norther border with Lebanon. The prospect of a multi-pronged war presents a disconcerting reality for Jerusalem as it carries out its operation to hunt down Hamas operatives and free hostages.

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Further complicating the matter are questions about how Hamas managed to launch the surprise attack in the first place. Both Israeli and American intelligence missed the signs necessary to anticipate Hamas’ strike. RedState’s Bob Hoge noted:

David Khalfa, co-director of the North Africa and Middle East Observatory at French think tank the Foundation Jean-Jaurès, says that, once again, there were warning signs:

It is a major failure for the Israeli intelligence services. A failure that could even be described as historic and without exaggerating, could be compared to what happened in 1973.

Israel is a country that is on permanent alert, ready to go into battle at any time. It is always on its toes. It is clear that there was a certain degree of unpreparedness, probably an error in the analysis and estimation on the part of Israeli intelligence services, but also in the preparation of Israeli special forces [for an attack like this].

He points out that the Israelis were completely caught off guard (emphasis mine):

The attack was three-dimensional; it took place on land, sea and by air. That is probably what surprised the Israelis.

Israel is a country that relies on its technology to anticipate threats and neutralise them before they arise. It is clear that there was an issue regarding anticipation, and probably a problem in their analysis [of] the threat level.

The scenario Israeli intelligence services were expecting was an invasion from the north, via Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

They were blindsided.

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The Middle East has once again become a theater of conflict that could threaten to grow even more widespread. The orchestration of Hamas, along with Hezbollah’s involvement, could portend some tough times for Israel – especially with Iran pulling the strings of both entities.

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