Amid tensions with Iran, northern front heats up

Foiled Iranian attack on Nevatim Air Base prompted Israeli military leaders to push for action against Tehran; with Gaza hostage deal stalling, tensions with Hezbollah escalate, raising prospect of imminent combat in Lebanon

The intensity of fighting in the Gaza Strip has significantly decreased, and now Israel faces two more pressing and significant fronts: Iran, which is immediate, and Hezbollah, linked to Iran but also to Gaza following commitments from its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, and there has been a noticeable escalation with Hezbollah on Tuesday.
Regarding Iran, the Israeli military leadership initially believed Iran had demonstrated operational success alongside a strategic achievement. However, as time passes, it is becoming clear that this was an operational failure.
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Aftermath of attack on Hezbollah field commander Ismail Yousef Baz in southern Lebanon
The question now is how Israel will leverage its strategic success, possibly gaining international legitimacy on issues like Rafah, the hostages and Lebanon. There is also speculation whether political leaders might decide to shift the war’s objectives based on the developments with Iran.
The military is advocating for action against Iran. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has openly expressed this position, and Air Force Commander Major General Tomer Bar has also voiced a firm opinion in discussions.
One key reason is the high certainty that Iran attempted to destroy Israel's Nevatim Air Base. Without Israel’s multi-layered air defense scheme and the international coalition that has been formed, the attack might have succeeded.
"The Iranians attacked us aggressively with over 500 munitions," said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. "No cruise missile or drone reached Israel, and of more than 100 surface-to-surface missiles, only four fell in Israel - a result of the preparation we did with our partners and the quality operation of the IDF across all its systems."
As Israel faces increasing international pressure not to launch an attack and risk losing the broad support of the international coalition, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz against escalating the situation further. However, Israel's political echelon is pushing for action, the nature of which remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, tensions in the north are escalating; after four soldiers from the Golani Reconnaissance Unit were wounded in a cross-border operation on Monday, dozens of rockets have been launched at IDF bases, including Meron and another base which Hezbollah claims hosts an Iron Dome battery. Additionally, two Hezbollah explosive drones from Lebanon exploded Tuesday afternoon near Beit Hillel in the Galilee Panhandle, lightly wounding three Israelis.
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Ismail Yousef Baz
The IDF eliminated two senior Hezbollah field commanders on Tuesday. The first, Ismail Yousef Baz, commanded Hezbollah's coastal sector and was targeted in a vehicle strike near Tyre.
"Baz was a veteran and high-ranking figure in Hezbollah's military wing, involved in multiple capacities. His current rank was equivalent to a brigade commander. In his role, Baz was engaged in advancing and planning rocket and anti-tank missile launches toward Israel from the Lebanese coast. During the war, he organized and planned various terror plots against Israel," the IDF said.
Later in the day, another commander, Mohammad Hussein Moustafa Shouri, head of the rocket and missile unit in Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force for the western sector, was also killed.
The IDF has struck several prominent Hezbollah field commanders, with the terror group reporting almost 300 fatalities since the beginning of the war. While the political leadership has not yet designated Lebanon as a primary target in the war, the potential for combat days in Lebanon to facilitate the return of northern residents before September 1 increases as the hostage deal seems more distant.
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