Israeli military intelligence chief warns of new 'war' with Hezbollah

Israeli military intelligence chief warns of new 'war' with Hezbollah
Hezbollah and Israel have clashed numerous times since the 1980s.
2 min read
23 May, 2023
Aharon Haliva's comments come following an increase tension between Israel and Hezbollah [GETTY]

The chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate has warned that a new war with the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah could break out during a speech at a security conference on Monday.

Aharon Haliva said that Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah was "close to making a mistake that could plunge the region into a big war” at Israel's 2023 annual Herzliya Security Conference in Reichman University.

"The chances of an escalation that could deteriorate into war is not low," Haliva added. 

The comments come after a highly publicised military exercise conducted by Hezbollah in Aaramta, southern Lebanon, that showcased mock raids into Israel, with the group showing off an array of weaponry in the process.  

Nasrallah has previously warned that if there were "any attack in Lebanon" by Israel then "we’ll respond accordingly and without hesitation".  

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Recent flareups on the Israeli-Lebanese border, including a roadside bomb attack near Megido in March, and rockets being fired into Israel from southern Lebanon in May, have led to an increase in tension between Israel and Hezbollah. 

As well as warning that Nasrallah may view the flareups as ongoing, Haliya also warned that in the event of an escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese or Syrian border, the Israeli military would be "ready to use force", doing "whatever is possible and necessary to bring calm". 

He also highlighted that confrontations with Iran, Hezbollah’s patron, had "become direct" in recent years. The comments likely refer to Israeli airstrikes that have targeted Iranian facilities and Iran-backed groups in Syria, including Hezbollah, as well as alleged Israeli covert operations on Iranian territory itself.