A mysterious blast in a Hezbollah depot in South Lebanon rocked the relatively quiet northern sector this week prompting reports that Israel was behind the explosion. On the other side of the border, the IDF is ready for any development which may involve Hezbollah or even the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).
Commander of the Herev Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel Shadi Abu Fares oversaw a drill simulating border clashes earlier this week. Abu Fares says that Lebanese troops deployed on the border prevented pro-Palestinian protesters from approaching the border fence on Naksa Day last June, but are unlikely to flee to the north in the next conflict.
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"It is our estimate that they will take part in the fighting. They are regarded as the enemy. We have no intention of opening fire at them and they are aware of their responsibilities on the border," Abu Fares told Ynet.
Main scenario: Infiltration and abduction (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Tensions between Israel and the LAF have grown in the past year and a half, as Lebanon moved from pro-Western rulers to a Hezbollah-affiliated regime.
Last August, an IDF patrol driving along the border was attacked. Some Lebanese reports claimed that a Lebanese soldier was injured in the incidence which occurred exactly one year after Lieutenant-Colonel Dov Harari was killed in a fire exchange on the border.
Druze Battalion drill (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
No other battalion is as familiar with the Lebanese border as the Druze Battalion. Its combatants have spent the last decade deployed in the area.
But even they cann't predict what shape the next conflict will take. "The main scenario we are preparing for is one of infiltration which also entails an abduction threat," Lt. Col. Abu Fares says.
"The war has greatly deterred Hezbollah and Nasrallah is still hiding in bunkers fearing a targeted killing. Since the war Hezbollah has not fired one shot but its men are still hidden on the line."
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