Perhaps entirely to be expected, there are some bizarre developments and claims coming out related to the weekend's twin drone bombing of Hezbollah offices in south Beirut.
First, a dubious Reuters story cites "two sources close to Hezbollah" to report the Shia paramilitary group is preparing a “calculated strike” against Israel in response to the drone attack. The claimed sources said a reaction “is being arranged in a way which wouldn’t lead to a war that neither Hezbollah nor Israel wants,” and added, “the direction now is for a calculated strike, but how matters develop, that’s another thing.”
However, Hezbollah is notoriously very secretive and has had few, if any, legitimate leaks of its intentions in the entire history of the organization. Hezbollah members and operatives almost never even talk to journalists outside of the group's official media wing, the recent claims of some western journalists to have "access" notwithstanding. And then there's the extreme unlikelihood that the group would announce exactly a strategy of a "calculated" reprisal yet that doesn't lead to war.
Another interesting development involves an explosive UK Times report alleging the Israelis were looking to destroy a vital Hezbollah missile component in the operation. According to the Tuesday report:
A suspected Israeli drone attack on a Hezbollah site in southern Beirut targeted crates believed to contain machinery to mix high-grade propellant for precision guided missiles, The Times has learnt.
The report of course relies on unnamed “Western intelligence sources” to say the targeted facility actually stored a high-end “industrial planetary mixer” — considered an essential component in high-grade precision missiles’ propellant.
Some analysts online have pointed to photographs of one of the drone blasts which hit near a Hezbollah media building that appear to show crates catching fire, though it's also highly dubious that such vital and secretive technology would be stored so brazenly out in the open in the center of a neighborhood.
Alleged #Israeli UAV caught on cam at #Hezbollah Media Center in #Beirut.— maytham (@maytham956) August 26, 2019
The drone downed over southern Lebanon on August 25 contained a carefully made 5,5kg C4 explosives warhead. pic.twitter.com/rGATZPxilL
There are reports suggesting the valuable crates could have been in the process of transport to a nearby airport, however.
You can open-access photographs on Twitter clearly showing what was struck: https://t.co/zvSzvK6wFX— Richard Spencer (@RichardJSpencer) August 27, 2019
Israel has a history of justifying any and all of its missile strikes whether in Lebanon or Syria — even when the target is clearly a Syrian government building (as has been the case many times over the past few years) — by saying it was halting Iranian or Hezbollah rockets.
With potential war on the horizon, and as Israel makes threats hearkening back to the lead-up of the 2006 war to retaliate for any Hezbollah counter-attack on "the whole Lebanese state," every fresh claim should first be scrutinized as war propaganda meant to signal threats to "the enemy".