Hezbollah's plan to conquer the Galilee
The terror organization's leader Nasrallah has spoken about seizing the Israeli Galilee long before the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield on Tuesday; the plan entails elite Hezbollah fighters infiltrating Israel, entrenching themselves in Israeli communities near the border and taking hostages.
The plan entails fighters from Hezbollah's elite Radwan unit infiltrating Israel from Lebanon, entrenching themselves in Israeli communities near the border while taking hostages and using Israeli citizens as human shields.
According to the plan, Tehran is expected to aid Hezbollah's operation by sending money and weapons sent to the Shiite terror organization, as well as militias to fight alongside Hezbollah.
Hezbollah's Radwan unit, which carries out the organization's top secret missions, is expected to be in charge of executing most of the plan to capture the Galilee.
The unit—which was established by Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh to fight Israel—is a fast intervention force whose people go through grueling training.
Arab media outlets describe Radwan as a shadow unit whose militants operate only in special and extreme cases. Hezbollah is maintaining complete ambiguity surrounding Radwan, with official reports about the unit being very rare.
The unit's methods are diverse, ranging from a quiet invasion through the border to penetrating from the sea with inflatable boats, as depicted by Hezbollah's video threatening to seize the Galilee.
When announcing Operation Northern Shield, the IDF Spokesperson's Office also addressed the terror organization's plan to capture the Galilee.
"In 2012, we identified Hezbollah's plan of attack inside Israel titled 'Conquering the Galilee,' to which the organization's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah refers, and which includes terror tunnels infiltrating Israel," it said.
"In 2013, the IDF examined suspicions the terror group was digging near the border after Israeli residents in the north reported hearing digging noises, but did not find anything," the IDF added.
In 2015, Nasrallah stated that "Hezbollah is ready and prepared for a confrontation in the Galilee and beyond the Galilee," during an interview with Al Mayadeen network. "We are prepared for all that a war with Israel entails," he added.
Hezbollah also reportedly plans to use fighters from Al-Najba'a conquer the Galilee. It is a pro-Iranian Shiite Iraqi militia that has several thousands of fighters in Iraq and in Syria and had ties to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani. In addition, Hezbollah will receive aid from other militias, from Iraq and other countries, to fight Israel.
Hezbollah: Operation Northern Shield meant to shield Netanyahu
Hezbollah's TV channel Al-Manar opened its broadcast on Tuesday by discussing the reasons pushing the IDF to launch Operation Northern Shield. "Is Operation Northern Shield meant to shield (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu from corruption?" a newscaster wondered.
The terror organization's media outlets chose to stress the calm prevailing in southern Lebanon despite the IDF operation, covering it with utter contempt, and casting doubt over Israeli claims of its necessity, while denying the existence of the terror tunnels.
Hezbollah is monitoring Israeli discourse, as well as the army's activities along the border, documenting IDF officers and soldiers working to expose and neutralize the tunnels.
"The Zionist intimidation remains beyond the border fence and our citizens are only witnessing the dust rising from the Israeli bulldozers," Hezbollah said.
Furthermore, the organization claims the operation's real purpose is to distract the Israeli public's attention from the multiple investigations against Netanyahu and the police's recommendations to indict the prime minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The Arab media also pointed out that the police recommendation was made on former police commissioner Roni Alsheikh's last day on the job.
"Every now and again a military source being interviewed stresses that the works will remain on Israeli territory, and when he is reminded of Netanyahu's crisis, he goes back to threatening and intimidating," al-Manar noted.
The Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel also covered the quiet maintained in southern Lebanon's villages.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese army issued a statement stressing the calm along the border. "Calm and stability are maintained on the Lebanese side. Our forces are deployed in the area and carry out their routine tasks along the border, in cooperation and coordination with United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), to prevent escalation in southern Lebanon," the statement read.
Lebanese citizens discussed on social media networks the situation in southern Lebanon. Some expressed support for their brothers in the south, while some wrote that "Israel is digging its own grave," and others doubted Hezbollah's ability to fight Israel.
Hezbollah's spokespeople, on their part, released archive photos of combat equipment in action, with the caption, "File photos from the battle field."
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri cast a doubt there were terror tunnels in the village of Kafr Kela. "The Israeli story is questionable. Lebanon demands to receive the coordinates of the exact location of the tunnels as well as additional proof of Israel's claims," he said.
"If Israel wants to dig in the territory it occupied, it can dig as much as it wants and do whatever it wants. However, if it seeks to continue the digging on Lebanon's territory, it's a whole different thing," he added.
In the meantime, Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported that Operation Northern Shield is merely preparation for a much larger Israeli action.
"Is this operation only a cover-up for something bigger?" the newspaper wondered, while mentioning Netanyahu's meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Monday as well as Netanyahu's recent meeting with US President Donald Trump in which the two discussed Hezbollah's high-precision guided missile factories in Beirut.