'Could strike at any moment': 'Most dangerous' threat to Israel identified

 June 23, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

With the war against Hamas to its south and the steady prodding of Hezbollah to its north, Israel is facing a two-front war. As the bloody battle continues against Hamas, experts agree Hezbollah is the greater threat to the Jewish state, should it decide to go full throttle.

In 1982 and 2006, Israel fought two wars against Hezbollah – and now finds itself on the brink of a third. Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Jewish civilians, Hezbollah has ramped up its efforts to bombard Israel from Lebanon with a barrage of missiles, rockets and drones.

A former Israel Defense Forces spokesperson recently told Fox News that the announcement by the IDF that it had approved an "offensive in Lebanon" is "another step towards a significant escalation" against Israel's adversary to the north.

WND spoke to Middle East expert and terrorism scholar Adrian Calamel, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Arabian Peninsula Institute, who noted that Hezbollah has been a proxy of Iran and a thorn in Israel's side since its inception.

Calamel cited 1982 as "the formal establishment" of Hezbollah, but argues the group may have been operating in Lebanon prior to this date. By 1983, he said, the terrorist group had occupied the Sheikh Abdullah Barracks in the Bekaa Valley. And according to Calamel, "this was their real starting point, spreading out like a virus across Lebanon from there."

As a result of the Taif Agreement of 1989 to end a 15-year-long Lebanese Civil War, Calamel said, "militias gave up their arms." Interestingly, he added, "The agreement was largely driven by the Saudis to end the war, but Tehran scuttled all efforts to remove weapons from Hezbollah, stating they were a resistance force." But the resistance force was a "charade," he noted, and the terrorist group was never going to sign a deal to disarm.

While the Lebanese Armed Forces, or LAF, would be expected to constitute a countermeasure against Hezbollah, Calamel said the terrorist group has grown strong enough to control the Middle Eastern country's military. This, he said, allowed for "the complete militarization" of the south of Lebanon on Hezbollah's terms through the years.

alamel believes Israel faces a formidable opponent to its north with Hezbollah, far more powerful than Hamas. He suspects Hezbollah has accumulated over 120,000 precision missiles and other weapons. "They're hiding them within their population," he told WND. "The World Factbook" of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimates Hezbollah's missile and rocket strength to be as high as 150,000. And according to a 2018 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "Hezbollah is the world's most heavily armed non-state actor."

In addition, Calamel said, "The tunnel structures the world has seen in Gaza are nothing compared to the tunnel structures in south Lebanon." He describes Hezbollah's tunnel system as "a three-dimensional chessboard," inside of which are command centers and "near endless" ways to move weaponry around, he added.

Calamel also pointed out that Hezbollah receives $700 million every year from the Iranian regime. "The state of Lebanon is bankrupt, [as] Hezbollah has completely bled the economy," he noted, adding that "the money [received from Iran] is going to their war-making machine to destroy Israel."

By normalizing warfare at Israel’s northern border, Calamel said, Hezbollah is becoming "more brazen" and they are increasing their number of attacks against the Jewish state. "They're even hinting that a war is coming," he noted. "All the while, they're backing Israel into a corner where they'll have to respond."

In the meantime, the U.S. is holding up arms, including the delivery of a fleet of F-15 jet fighters to Israel as it continues to face off with Hamas.

While Israel remains focused on eradicating Hamas terrorists from Gaza, Calamel warns, "Hezbollah is, without question, the most dangerous weapon the Islamic Republic can use against Israel and they could strike at any moment."

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