A 'worst nightmare' scenario is unfolding for Israel, as its officials have long feared war on two fronts. Following weekend reports of sporadic shelling and missile fire out of south Lebanon into northern Israel, it's increasingly becoming evident that Lebanese Hezbollah has joined the conflict.
Starting Sunday, Hezbollah confirmed in a statement that it sent "large numbers of rockets and shells" against Israeli positions in solidarity with the "Palestinian resistance." And on Monday, videos are widely circulating of fresh attacks and retaliatory shelling from the Israeli side. There are reports that Israeli helicopters are active along the border, seeking to thwart Hezbollah "infiltrators".
⚡️South Lebanon now pic.twitter.com/ZtirXEjUYU— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 9, 2023
Starting Sunday, Hezbollah officials declared their involvement in fresh hostilities at the Israel-Lebanon border:
"The responsibility obliges all the sons of our nation not to be neutral and we are not neutral," Safi al-Din said at a pro-Palestinian rally in Beirut, Lebanese news site Naharnet reported.
The Hezbollah official referred to his group's shelling of Israel, saying: "The resistance sent a message this morning." He said "it is our right to target the enemy that is still occupying our land and the Israelis must read this message well."
Much of this initial shelling and missile fire reportedly occurred in the area Syria's Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which was annexed by Israel in 1981. Casualties on either side remain unclear and undisclosed.
Below: Times of Israel writes, "A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel."
A separate Hezbollah statement being reported in regional media said, "Palestine is not Ukraine. If America intervenes directly, all American locations in the region will become legitimate targets of the resistance axis and will face our attacks. And on this day there will be no red line left."
Indeed, if a fresh conflict with Hezbollah spirals, there's an increased likelihood that Israel could begin targeting locations in Iran.
A weekend Wall Street Journal report alleged the Iranians had funded and helped organize the Saturday Hamas incursions into southern Israel, which left hundreds of Israelis dead.
According to regional analyst Samuel Ramani, "Hezbollah has claimed missile and artillery attacks on three parts of Shebaa Farms at the intersection of the Golan Heights and Lebanon-Syria border." This includes the following:
- Ruwaisat al-Alam
BREAKING — Bursts of rockets have been launched from Sour in South #Lebanon into #Israel, a security source has confirmed. In retaliation, Israel shells areas of Zebqine, Khalila & Thuhayra. IDF spox reports “a number of suspects” infiltrating Israeli territory from Lebanon. pic.twitter.com/MHjdu9V2Nz— Sally Abou AlJoud | سالي (@JoudSally) October 9, 2023
As for Iran, it has denied that it was behind the Hamas attacks. "Iran’s representation to the United Nations rejected claims that Iran was involved in Hamas attacks on Israel, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported, citing Ali Karimi-Maqam, a member of the delegation," Bloomberg noted.
BREAKING — Israeli helicopters are currently striking in Lebanese territory after infiltration from Lebanon, Israeli military reports pic.twitter.com/iBURhDczUP— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) October 9, 2023
An Iranian government statement said: "We stand at Palestine’s side in firm support out of sympathy. But we have no role in Palestine’s response, because it is done purely by Palestine itself."