06:56 GMT13 April 2021
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    The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have called off massive military maneuvers slated for next week and instead kicked off preparing ground, air and naval troops for the possibility of a major attack by Hezbollah, amid continuing threats from the Lebanese-based group, local media reported Saturday.

    According to The Times of Israel, the IDF has been on high alert over the past few days, restricting soldiers’ movements in vulnerable areas, canceling weekend leave for troops in the Northern Command and reportedly deploying heavy weapons directly to the Lebanese border.

    “In the past week, IDF troops — including ground, air, naval and intelligence forces — have improved their preparedness for a variety of scenarios in the area of the Northern Command and the Galilee Division”, the Israeli military said in a statement, cited by The Times of Israel.

    The move reportedly was prompted by the most recent video statement made by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah who threatened Israel with precision border strikes from Lebanon, including in the territories of Shebaa Farms.

    Shebaa Farms and the adjacent Kfar Chouba hills are portions of land taken and occupied by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. Lebanon maintains that this land is its territory, though it was under Syrian control from the 1950s, until it was seized by Israel in 1967, along with the Golan Heights.

    Tensions between Lebanon and Israel have sparked over the past week. The Lebanese military reportedly detected and fired at two Israeli drones, which flew above the border settlement of Adeisi. Lebanon has accused Israel of being behind a drone strike on the office of the Hezbollah militant group near Beirut last week, followed by another attack on Palestinian military positions in eastern Lebanon.

    Lebanese media also reported earlier this week that several blasts were heard along the Israeli-Lebanese border and that a fire had broken out on the Israeli side of the border. According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli military said that the fire was started by army activity in the area and that the blaze had been contained.

    Lebanon has repeatedly objected to ongoing Israeli anti-Hezbollah operations in its airspace, noting that Tel Aviv is violating the country's sovereignty and UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Israel considers Iran - and Lebanon-based Hezbollah its key rival in the region and conducts regular air raids against the group and its assets.

    Meanwhile, the IDF exercise planned for this week will instead be merged with another large-scale drill slated for 8-12 September, The Times of Israel said.

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    Tags:
    Israel, tension, Hezbollah, Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
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