Israel braces for early payback for deaths of Hizballah officers, Iranian general on Golan

The dominant IDF assessment Monday, Jan. 19, is that Hizballah will not hold off its rejoinder for the Israeli helicopter missile strike on the Golan Sunday, which targeted an advance guard and caused the deaths of five Hizballah and six Iranian army officers. Tehran confirmed Monday that Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi was among the officers killed in the Israel attack..

Iran’s National Security Adviser Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani responded with a pledge of punishment for the death of Gen. Allah Dadi. “The resistance will respond by force at an appropriate time and place for the “Zionist terrorist entity’s aggression,” he said.

Israeli military chiefs are gearing up for an early Hizballah cross-border attack on Upper or Western Galilee and have instructed local security units to stand ready, open up emergency shelters and prepare their firearm arsenals. At Monday noon, Galilee district commander Brig. Gen. Amir Baram assembled Galilee mayors and local council heads at his Biranit headquarters and issued them with crisis directives for the population of a quarter of a million under their jurisdiction.

Even more than a Hizballah rocket attack, this population is gravely concerned by fear of terrorist tunnels running under the border from Lebanon and coming out under their homes. The IDF has never confirmed the existence of these tunnels and may not have located them. However, since last summer’s Operation Defensive Edge against the Palestinian Hamas, and the discovery of their uncharted tunnels snaking under the Gaza-Israeli border into neighboring kibbutzim, people living in the north dread that Hizballah has taken a leaf out of Hamas’ book of terror.

They found confirmation for their dread in statements Monday in the Lebanese Hizballah mouthpiece Al Akhbar: “Israel will not be able to prevent Hizballah from sending its forces into Galilee” and “We shall hit back for the Quneitra strike very soon.”
But, barring the unlikely eventuality of Hizballah opening up a full-front assault on Galilee, the pro-Iranian Shiite terrorist group has two options for sending send its forces across the border into Galilee, debkafile’s military experts report: By seizing control of a single Israeli location or district close to the Lebanese border, or pushing a force into Israel through prepared tunnels.

Asked by a Voice of Israel radio broadcaster Monday about the existence of such tunnels, the Israeli Defense Minister’s political adviser Amos Gilead hedged: “It is always necessary to look into this,” he said. But he did not deny that they existed.
Al Akhbar also quoted Hizballah as declaring, “The two fronts against northern Israel have merged and are equal.” In fact, it was pointed out, a single, continuous anti-Israel front line runs from the south Lebanese-Israeli border in the west to its eastern point on the Syrian Golan.
Hizballah, which takes its orders from Tehran, is clearly determined to establish a military presence on the Syrian Golan as a second warfront for launching a two-pronged simultaneous assault on Israel, and is bent on forcing its acceptance down Israel’s throat.
But Israel is making no bones about its non-acceptance and demonstrated its determination to make this deployment untenable by its deadly assault Sunday on the Iranian-Hizballah advance group that was checking out a site near Quneitra for Hizballah future offensive deployment.

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