Is Israel laying the ground for pre-emptive air strikes against targets belonging to the militant Shi’ite group Hizballah in Lebanon?
Tensions have been building along the Lebanon-Israel border in recent days. The Israeli army was engaged last week in large-scale military exercises in northern Israel, close to the border with Lebanon, putting into practice the lessons learned from last year’s 34-day war against Hizballah. The exercises took place at the same time as Israeli jets conducted a growing number of mock air raids and overflights in Lebanese airspace. Israeli aircraft fly in Lebanese airspace on a near daily basis, but last week Lebanese army anti-aircraft units fired at the jets for the first time since the end of the war.
Hizballah, too, is reported to have carried out over the weekend its largest ever military manouevers in south Lebanon. According to a report Monday in Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, Hizballah’s three-day exercise was a response to the Israeli army’s own maneuvers and was intended, according to quoted Hizballah sources, to “deter the enemy from undertaking any further Lebanese adventures.” [complete article]