IDF: The strikes were the most extensive carried out by Israel in Southern Lebanon during the war to date • Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper reports U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein delivered a “final warning” to Lebanon.
By Joshua Marks
January 16, 2024
Combined Israeli ground and aerial forces carried out an “extensive” series of strikes on Hezbollah targets in the Wadi Saluki district of Southern Lebanon on Tuesday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Among the targets were dozens of Hezbollah posts, military structures and weapons infrastructure.
Israel accuses the Iranian terror proxy of exploiting the Wadi Saluki area for its terrorist activities against Israeli civilians and soldiers, saying that Hezbollah hides assets and infrastructure in the forested areas.
“This morning, the Northern Command carried out a significant wave of…attacks using fighter jets and artillery, against many targets of the terrorist organization Hezbollah in the Wadi Saluki area,” said Lt. Col. Y., a ground fire officer in the IDF’s Northern Command.
“In a few short minutes, a powerful attack was carried out against dozens of positions, military buildings, infrastructure and launchers. The attack in Wadi Saluki is one of the most extensive we have carried out since the beginning of the fighting,” said Y.
“The Northern Command will continue to do whatever it takes, with determination and strength, to protect the residents of the north, and will continue to strongly damage the capabilities and infrastructure of the terrorist organization Hezbollah,” he added.
Overnight Monday, an Israeli Air Force craft struck a Hezbollah anti-tank missile launcher in the Kafr Kila area in Southern Lebanon, according to the IDF.
Israeli special forces also mounted an operation overnight to remove an unspecified threat in the area of Ayta ash Shab in Southern Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the IDF determined that a report of a hostile aircraft infiltration in the Galilee was a false alarm.
Hochstein visit disappoints Lebanon
According to the report, Hochstein’s visit was interpreted in Lebanon as a final warning before an Israeli military campaign to remove the Hezbollah threat from the border.
Hochstein reportedly delivered a message to “return security to Israel and return the residents to their homes.” He also reportedly demanded that Lebanese authorities move Hezbollah 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) north of the Blue Line, delineated by the United Nations after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.
According to the report Hochstein called for the Lebanese Army to replace Hezbollah in this 7-kilometer zone “so that the northern residents of Israel can return.”
Hochstein also reportedly said that a full withdrawal north of the Litani River was not necessary. This despite U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, according to which Hezbollah is not allowed to maintain a military presence south of the Litani.
Hochstein reportedly warned that if Hezbollah does not withdraw, Israel will attack.