Israel carrying out surprise drills close to Lebanon to 'strengthen readiness'

Israel carrying out surprise drills close to Lebanon to 'strengthen readiness'
The 'Warm Winter 2' drills are taking place close to the Lebanon border.
2 min read
12 December, 2022
The drills involve around 13,000 Israeli troops, the military said [ALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty-file photo]

Israel carried out surprise military drills close to the Lebanese frontier this weekend, months after the two countries agreed on a maritime border deal.

The "Warm Winter 2" drills started on Saturday evening and will continue until Tuesday in order to "strengthen [military]… readiness",  the Israeli army said.

Around 8,000 regular soldiers and 5,000 reservists will take part in the planned exercises, which came after "special orders" from army units.

"[This will] strengthen the readiness of the end units in the [army] and the supporting logistical system for explosive events and various scenarios on the northern front," the Israeli military said.

Last week, Saudi Al-Arabiya alleged that an Iranian airline might transport arms and equipment to Iran-backed Shia movement Hezbollah on civilian flights via Beirut's main airport.

Fadi Al-Hassan, Lebanon's civil aviation general director, dismissed the reports saying the Iranian airline, Maraj, complied with all security regulations.

Despite the recent maritime deal, tensions between Lebanon and Israel remain high, particularly over the presence of Hezbollah fighters in the south.

Israel occupied its neighbour for 15 years from 1985 to 2000, and fought a war with Hezbollah in 2006.

Intense Israeli bombing during that conflict killed 1,100 Lebanese, almost all of them civilians, according to Human Rights Watch. Israeli authorities said 43 of their civilians were killed.

The maritime deal agreed between the two countries, which are technically in a state of war, could lead to significant fossil fuel exploration revenue for Lebanon, a nation whose economy is in ruins.