Lebanon's Hezbollah movement on Monday released previously unseen footage of the cross-border raid into Israel that ignited the 2006 War on Lebanon.
Al-Manar TV aired the footage to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the operation and ensuing 34-day war which lasted between 21 July and 14 August and left over 1,000 mostly Lebanese civilians dead and over 4,000 injured along with 43 Israeli civilians and 12 soldiers.
In the video, Hezbollah operatives can be seen crossing the border with Israel and firing at an army Humvee and then running towards the vehicle and capturing Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, both of whom are censored in the video. It is believed by Israeli authorities that they were killed during the initial attack.
#BREAKING: Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV for the first time showing extended video footage of the capture of two Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in 2006 that initiated the Second Lebanon War pic.twitter.com/jVOZMH9mfJ
— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) July 12, 2021
On 16 July 2008 the bodies of Godwasser and Regev were returned to Israel via the International Red Cross in exchange for the release of four Lebanese citizens, including the late-Samir Kuntar and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinians.
According to the Times of Israel, three other soldiers were killed in the attack and an additional five troops were killed shortly thereafter in a botched Israeli rescue attempt.
At the start of the conflict, along with retrieving the captured Israelis, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to cripple Hezbollah's military capabilities and prevent it from rebuilding its arsenal. In spite of this, Hezbollah at present is the world's most heavily-armed non-state actor with current estimates placing its stockpile of missiles at 130,000.
Hezbollah is arguably considered the biggest strategic threat to Israel's security, yesterday an editorial in the Jerusalem Post observed that "The revulsion of seeing the national tragedy replayed and the timing of its release are a sobering reminder of the peril that still confronts Israel from the North, 15 years after the harrowing conflict that still divides Israelis as to what was achieved and at what cost."
Leader of the Meretz social-democratic political party, Zahav Gal-On, wrote in Haaretz this week that the conflict had "become a symbol of the folly and irresponsibility of the government and army, which dragged the state into a needless war while concealing their failures behind lies."
Not long after the war had ended, Hezbollah chief Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah expressed regret over the scale of the conflict stating during an interview on Lebanese television: "Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it."