IDF Chief of Staff Threatens Full-Fledged Retaliation Against Lebanese Rocket Attack on Israel
14:40 GMT 21.07.2021 (Updated: 15:22 GMT 21.07.2021)
© Photo : Israel Defense Forces
On Tuesday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz claimed that Lebanon was responsible for an overnight rocket attack because it “allows terrorists to operate within its territory”.
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) chief of staff, has pledged a full-fledged response to a recent rocket attack that was reportedly conducted by a Palestinian group in southern Lebanon.
Two rockets were launched at Israel from Lebanon on Tuesday, setting off sirens but causing no damage or injuries. The Israeli military said it had responded to the attack with artillery fire.
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ori Shemesh / Aviv Kochavi Aviv Kochavi Chief of General Staff of the IDF, in uniform
Aviv Kochavi Chief of General Staff of the IDF, in uniform
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ori Shemesh / Aviv Kochavi
"We will not allow attacks such as last night to happen as a result of Lebanon's dire economic circumstances. We will respond overtly, covertly or both following any attempt to violate Israel's sovereignty from Lebanon”, Kochavi said.
He claimed Lebanon is currently on its way to a total collapse, accusing the Lebanon-based Shia militant group Hezbollah of playing a role in accelerating the process. Israel views Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.
The IDF chief of staff was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who condemned the Tuesday attack and warned that those trying to harm Israel will pay “a painful price”.
Bennett told reporters on Tuesday that Israel “won't allow anyone to harm its sovereignty and security”, adding, “we are working day and night, on all fronts, and we'll continue doing so”.
According to him, “Lebanon is on the brink of collapse, like every country Iran is entrenching in”.
© AP Photo / Mohammed ZaatariHezbollah fighters raise their group flags, as they salut the coffin of their comrade Mohammed Tahhan who was shot dead on Friday by Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, during his funeral procession, in the southern village of Adloun, Lebanon, Saturday, May 15, 2021
Hezbollah fighters raise their group flags, as they salut the coffin of their comrade Mohammed Tahhan who was shot dead on Friday by Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, during his funeral procession, in the southern village of Adloun, Lebanon, Saturday, May 15, 2021
© AP Photo / Mohammed Zaatari
The comments came after Hassan Baghdadi, a member of Hezbollah’s central council, pledged last month that Israel will face a previously unimaginable response in the event of hostilities against the Shia group.
“They should not err in their calculations again. If there is a war with Hezbollah, they will see the fire of hell as they have never imagined even in their dreams”, Baghdadi said.
This followed remarks by Israeli Defence Minister Gantz in May that Tel Aviv would stage massive strikes inside Lebanon if Hezbollah dared attack.
16 August 2020, 18:03 GMT
Israel and its northern neighbour Lebanon have a long history of strained relations, including an escalation in 2006, when the IDF and Hezbollah clashed in a 34-day war in the country that ended in a stalemate. The two sides have since exchanged fire now and then, with the Israeli Air Force hitting Hezbollah targets, and Hezbollah militants launching rocket strikes on northern Israel.
Tensions between the two also escalated in August 2020, following another exchange of cross-border fire, which raised fears of a full-blown conflict at the time.