Photo: Ariel Hermoni , GPO
Defense Minister Ya'alon during visit to the IDF Northern Command
Photo: Ariel Hermoni , GPO
IDF holds military exercise in northern sector
Large number of military vehicles, IAF planes participate in drill held after alertness level raised; Gantz: 'We are prepared and ready for any action needed'.

The IDF conducted a military exercise in the Northern Command on Friday after it raised its level of alert in the northern border following the strike attributed to Israel earlier this week that killed senior Hezbollah officers and Iranian soldiers.



IDF officials said that the decision to hold the exercise was made after a situation assessment conducted in recent days, and that a large number of military vehicles and IAF planes participated in it. The exercise was executed before the onset of Shabbat.


On Sunday, Jihad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah's commander of the Syrian Golan sector and the son of Lebanese terrorist Imad Mughniyah, were killed when an Israeli helicopter allegedly fired two missiles in the Syrian province of Quneitra near the Israeli Golan Heights.


IDF Cheif of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
IDF Cheif of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)


Following concerns of a response by Hezbollah to Sunday's airstrike they attributed to Israel, the IDF raised its alert level in the north in outposts along the border with Syria and Lebanon. The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) also threatened Israel, saying Tuesday that it should expect "devastating thunderbolts" in response to the attack.


Following the situation evaluation meeting in the Northern Command headquarters, IDF Cheif of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said on Friday that the army was following the events in the region very closely.


Gantz noted: "The troops are all on alert, prepared for any action needed" in the Golan Heights, where Israel shares a ceasefire line with Syria.


The military chief added that the "The IDF is prepared for any scenario, and will, on the one hand, exercise proper discretion, and on the other, operate with determination and the required intensity," he said.


Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also arrived at the IDF northern command headquarters on Friday in Safed and participated in the situation assessment meeting, also attended by Head of the Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Head of the Operations Directorate of the IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoav Har-Even and other senior Northern Command officers.


Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, GPO) (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, GPO)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, GPO)


Responding to the threats made by Hezbollah about an immanent attack on Israell, Ya'alon urged citizens and tourists to continue on with their routines.


"I call on the resident of the north and the tourists in the area to continue with their routine and to adhere to the IDF's instructions if the need arises," said Ya'alon.


"We must be ready and prepared for attempts to challenge us after the calls heard on the other side," said Ya'alon.


In a message to Hezbollah, Ya'alon said: "It is important that we maintain calm and patience, and know how to respond at an appropriate time, in a manner that will convey to those who try to hurt us that we will not tolerate any provocations from any sector.


Fears of retaliation by Lebanon's Hezbollah or other groups have risen since Sunday's attack, prompting Israel to move troops and equipments towards its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.


Hezbollah has responded in the past with explosive devices placed along the frontier.


Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is to give a speech next Friday reacting to the Israeli raid, in which a general of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards was also killed.


Israel has deployed its Iron Dome missile defence system in the north, where local media say it is amassing tanks and infantry reinforcements.


AFP contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 01.23.15, 19:11
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