the terrorist group Hezbollah carried out this Sunday military maneuvers of an unprecedented scale in the southern town of Rihan.
Hundreds of members of the armed group took part in a pompous display with motorcycles and armored vehiclesdirecting shooting and explosions against targets marked with Israeli flags and stars of Davidsymbol of Judaism.
Masked fighters jumped through flaming hoops, fired from the back of motorcycles and blew up Israeli flags strung up on hills and a wall simulating the Lebanese-Israel border.
“It is a symbolic show, but we do not doubt that they will be the most willing and strong to formally crush their enemy when necessary and at the decisive moment. This is our confidence and determination in you,” a voice said over the loudspeaker.
Hezbollah senior official Hashem Safieddine stated in a speech on Sunday that the exercise was intended to “confirm the total readiness to face any aggression” by Israel.
In his speech on Sunday, Safieddine alluded to the group’s possession of precision guided missileswhich were not exposed but which, according to what he said, Israel would see “later”.
Elias Farhat, a retired Lebanese army general who is now a military affairs researcher, said Hezbollah’s “symbolic show of force” on Sunday appeared to be a response to the recent escalation in Gaza. He said it could also be a response to a demonstration held Thursday in Jerusalem by thousands of Jewish nationalists.
MUSIC AND EXPLOSIONS
The maneuvers coincide with a upsurge in violence between Palestine and Israelwhich in recent weeks has killed several leaders of the movement Islamic Jihadas well as civilians, causing hundreds of rockets to be fired from the Gaza Strip.
A band of musicians in fatigues marked the start of the exercises in Rihan, where fighters demonstrated fighting and mock operations for more than an hour straight.
Between a drone flightthe Shia formation set off loud explosions on an adjacent hill which mimicked an Israeli position and which was also “attacked” by ground troops sent to it in armed vehicles.
“In this sacred and pure place, we say that you, the ‘mujahideen,’ are the ones who have made the celebration of Resistance and Liberation,” said the man on the loudspeaker.
Mohanad Hage Ali, a researcher at the Carnegie Middle East Center who studies Hezbollah, said that in the past, when the conflict between Israel and Palestine escalated, the Lebanese armed group sometimes fired rockets or allowed a Palestinian faction to do so. in Lebanon. But he said that Sunday’s military exercise was a less risky way to show strength.
Since Friday marked the return of Syria – an ally of Hezbollah and Iran – to the Arab League, Hage Ali said, Hezbollah may not have wanted a border clash with Israel to distract attention from Arab reconciliation.
Although the military exercise “shows how strong they are and sends a message to the Israelis, it also shows that this time they don’t want an escalation,” he said.
(With information from EFE and AP)
Amid tension with Gaza, thousands of Israeli nationalists took part in the “march of flags” in Jerusalem
The Israel Defense Forces assured that the operation against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip prevented a further escalation