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.
"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”.
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.
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.