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Barak on northern tour Photo: Ariel Hermoni
Barak on northern tour Photo: Ariel Hermoni
 
 

Barak to Northern Command: Hizbullah growing stronger, but so are we

Defense minister tours IDF’s Northern Command, says Hizbullah is ‘wary of firing at Israel at the moment, but beneath this blissful quiet there is a storm brewing’

Hanan Greenberg
Published: 04.01.08, 14:05 / Israel News

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a tour of the IDF’s Northern Command Tuesday that “Hizbullah is wary of firing at Israel at the moment because of the blows it sustained during the Second Lebanon War, but we also have many lessons to learn from that war, which we will hopefully implement in IDF training.”

 

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Barak, along with Northern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Brigadier General Imad Fars, commander of Division 91, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the IDF, Major General Dan Harel, toured the IDF’s Northern Command post along the northern border, speaking to IDF soldiers stationed there, and receiving a security briefing from senior officers of the Northern Command.

 

“Hizbullah, lurking on the other side of the border, is wary of firing at Israel at the moment, but continues to plot various schemes throughout the entire northern front,” said Barak. “Hizbullah is getting stronger, but so is Israel, which is the strongest nation in the region. I would suggest that no one of the other side of the border mess with Israel, for their own good.”

 

As for heightened tensions on the northern front in wake of the assassination of Hizbullah commander Imad Mugniyah, Barak stated that “the IDF is ready, willing and able to deal with all possible contingencies. Israel sees right through this blissful quiet and is well aware that a storm is brewing underneath the surface.”

 

Hizbullah might get others to do their dirty work

In similar vane, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met Tuesday with Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and a representative of the IDF’s Intelligence Branch.

 

The Intelligence Branch representative informed the Mks present that “Hizbullah is continuing its military escalation in Lebanon, and is supplied with ample arms from Syria and Iran. It is improving and streamlining all of its military units, and thus we still cannot rule out an attack in retaliation for Mugniyah ‘s assassination. Hizbullah is also likely to send other groups to do their dirty work for them, and not claim credit for such attacks.”

 

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi stated during the meeting that “Hizbullah operates in the sly and in resident clothing mainly in residential areas in Lebanon, because the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) cannot operate in these areas without permission from the Lebanese army.”

 

Ashkenazi further noted that “We (the IDF) are continually operating in Gaza and will continue to do so even tonight. We are targeting terror operatives and will continue to strike at them.”

 

As for political negotiations with the Palestinians, the chief of staff noted that “the IDF has clearly mapped out all of Israel's various security interests". 

 

Amnon Meranda contributed to this article

 

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