Israel’s army approves military operation in Lebanon


Lerato Khumalo

Israel threatens Hezbollah with “total war”. A media report makes accusations against Israel’s army. More information in the news blog.

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UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk warns of another major conflict in the Middle East. “I am extremely concerned about the escalating situation between Lebanon and Israel,” the High Commissioner told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday. Türk called for a halt to the fighting and for everything to be done “to avert a full-scale war.”

21:39: The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have approved operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon following increasing tensions. “As part of the situation assessment, the operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were confirmed and adopted. Decisions were made to further increase the operational readiness of the troops in the field,” the IDF announced. Tensions between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah have recently increased.

19:50: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the US government for withholding weapons and ammunition from Israel. He recently told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel that it was “incomprehensible that the government has withheld weapons and ammunition from Israel in recent months,” Netanyahu said in a video address. “Secretary of State Blinken assured me that the government is working day and night to eliminate these shortages. I really hope that this is the case.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected the criticism. The US is committed to ensuring that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against a variety of threats, he said when asked in Washington. We are sticking to that. There is one case that US President Joe Biden made public, namely the delivery of 2,000-pound bombs, which is still being reviewed because the US government has concerns that the bombs could be used in a densely populated area like Rafah. “But everything else is going on as usual,” he says.

19.10: Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has threatened the pro-Iranian Shiite militia Hezbollah with destruction in a “total war.” “We are close to the time when we will decide to change the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon,” Katz’s office said. “In a total war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard.”

Since the war in the Gaza Strip began more than eight months ago, there have been repeated shellings on the border between Israel and Lebanon. There, the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia regularly engages in firefights with the Israeli army in order to support its Islamist ally Hamas.

18.10: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invited the relatives of dead Hamas hostages to a meeting. “I was invited to a meeting with the head of government,” said Sharon Sharabi, whose brothers Yossi and Eli died while being held hostage. He will accept the invitation. Another relative, who wished to remain anonymous, told the AFP news agency that she would not go. “It occurred to him a little late to invite us.”

According to the families, Netanyahu will receive a group of relatives on Thursday and another on Sunday. Some relatives had accused him of showing too little compassion for the families of the dead hostages.

17:49: According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US government is considering sending large bombs to Israel. There are concerns that these could be used in densely populated areas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Blinken had assured that work was being done to lift restrictions on arms exports to Israel.

16:13: The Lebanese Hezbollah militia has, according to its own account, taken and published aerial photographs of northern Israel. The images are said to show the port of Haifa and other important strategic locations in the area and were taken by a drone. It is currently unclear when exactly they were taken. The material shown cannot be independently verified. When asked, Israel’s army said it was checking the reports.