Israel’s military said on Saturday it had ordered extra forces to deploy to its northern command and postponed a training exercise as tensions remained high with Lebanon’s heavily armed Shia movement Hezbollah.
According to a Reuters report, the Israeli army said that over the past week its “ground forces, air, navy and intelligence forces improved their preparedness for various scenarios in the northern command area.”
It posted on Twitter footage of tanks and ground forces being deployed.
Hezbollah said on Saturday its field commanders were ready to respond. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that all options were open to counter Israeli drones violating Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Drones like the ones used in the Beirut attack last weekend “open the door to assassinations” if left unanswered, he said, adding:
This matter will not be tolerated … Israel must pay the price.
Israel and Hezbollah, which last fought a war in 2006, are on high alert after drones were used on Sunday to attack what a security official in the region described as a target linked to precision-guided missile projects.
Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the rare strike in Beirut, and said it will retaliate. The heavily armed Shia movement has denied harbouring such missile facilities. Lebanon has accused Israel of seeking pretexts for aggression.
Without claiming responsibility for the drone attack, the Israeli military published what it said were details about an extensive Iranian-sponsored campaign to provide Hezbollah with the means to produce precision-guided missiles.
Such missiles – which Hezbollah acknowledges possessing – could potentially pose a counter-balance to Israel’s overwhelming military force in any future war, with the capacity to home in on and knock out core infrastructure sites.