Would Hezbollah jump in the fight against Israel? – While Israel and Hamas enter their 10th day of warfare, other actors are eager to exploit the ongoing crisis.
On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian militant group that has ruled over the Gaza Strip since 2007 launched the most horrific and deadly pogrom against Jewish civilians since the Holocaust.
In one day, the terrorist organization was able to infiltrate Israel along its shared border and carry out a barbaric massacre that led to the deaths of roughly 1,400 people.
Hamas also kidnapped roughly 200 individuals, who are all assumed to be hidden underground in Gaza.
The fate of the men, women, and children held hostage by Hamas is dismal, considering the photos and videos released by the terror organization displaying the torture, sexual violence and beheadings of some. However, these hostages may be the only leverage Hamas holds as Israel prepares to invade Gaza.
Hamas attacked Israel from the South
Israel’s southern Kibbutzim faced the onslaught of Hamas’ attack, as they are positioned just miles from Gaza.
Kfar Aza, Be’eri and Sderot have been referred to as the “Ground Zeros” of the large-scale surprise assault.
Be’eri lost 10% of total population to put things in perspective. In these rural communities, Hamas militants ransacked and set ablaze homes gunned down entire families, and brutally decapitated, burned alive and tortured innocent men, women, children and babies.
Upon entering the scenes of the massacres, IDF officials and international reporters expressed the same sentiment- they had never witnessed anything as brutal in their years of service.
Will Hezbollah join the onslaught from the North?
As an Iranian-funded and supported group, Hamas is not the only regional proxy to wish to annihilate the world’s sole Jewish nation. Experts are warning that Israel could face a secondary barrage from its northern neighbor. The Lebanese-based Hezbollah is also backed by Tehran, which began to sink its teeth into Lebanon in the early 1980s to export its Islamic Revolution. Over the years, the group has evolved and now entrenched in all aspects of Lebanon’s polity.
Hezbollah today is highly skilled and enjoys a litany of advanced weapon systems provided by the Iranian regime.
Israel, the U.S. and other international allies were immediately concerned following the Oct 7 attack that Hezbollah and like-minded actors would exploit Hamas’ attack and Israel’s duty to retaliate. The Biden administration has notably ordered two carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in addition to fighter jets to “send a message of deterrence to Iran and Iranian proxies in the region.” The UK Prime Minister has also directed British military assets to deploy to the region to assist Israel and “reinforce regional stability.”
While Hamas has displayed its ability and willingness to perpetuate war crimes against Jewish citizens in Israel, the IDF still considers Hezbollah an immediate severe threat. According to the Associated Press, Hezbollah possesses at least 150,000 rockets and missiles, and at least some were already fired towards Israel over the last week. This morning, the IDF ordered people living in the roughly two dozen communities near the Lebanese border to evacuate, a precaution that seems more than necessary at the moment. Hezbollah has also released footage depicting its own fighters disabling security and surveillance cameras along the Lebanese-Israeli border, indicating the potential for increased barrages is likely.
About the Author
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.