The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is taking the necessary measures to evacuate 28 communities located near the northern border with Lebanon due to escalating tensions with Hezbollah militants. This decision comes after an Israeli civilian and a soldier lost their lives on Sunday when anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon struck a village and a military post. In response, the IDF conducted airstrikes on Hezbollah military sites.
Known as Lebanon’s most powerful military force, Hezbollah possesses long-range rockets that can reach deep into Israeli territory. The two sides engaged in a month-long war back in 2006, and now Israel faces the risk of a regional conflict after Iran warned of the consequences if it continues attacking Palestinian territory in retaliation for the recent assault by Hamas.
In a visit to a community coordination centre situated in the town of Shlomi, Israeli government minister Benny Gantz was asked about the possibility of another war with Hezbollah by the BBC. While expressing hopes for peace, Gantz acknowledged the need for preparedness. He stated, “I hope for them not, but we do all the preparations.”
On Monday morning, the IDF announced the implementation of an emergency plan to evacuate all civilians residing within a 2km (1.2 miles) radius of the Lebanese border. These individuals will be provided accommodation in state-funded guest houses. The IDF spokesperson emphasized that this evacuation is a precautionary measure aimed at reducing harm to civilians and allowing the military freedom of action if necessary. However, many border villages have already seen significant population declines, with families voluntarily leaving for safer areas even before the official evacuation order was given.
Residents who have fled the area report that soldiers and members of local security teams are the only ones remaining in the nearly deserted villages. The proximity of these communities to the border is evident, with the fortified fence constructed by Israel clearly visible. In addition, some still contain Hezbollah observation posts on the opposite side.
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