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The Military Zone: Escalation and plans

Attacks in Lebanon. IDF site

The last day saw significant warming in two arenas: On the northern front, Hezbollah has carried out its most intensive attack to date, since the outbreak of the war, with over 100 launches toward the Golan Heights, and dozens of additional rockets toward other towns and outposts across the border. In response, the IDF carried out attacks deep inside Lebanon, in the area of Ba’alBek; at the same time, the IDF published an official statistic regarding the harm done to Hezbollah since the outbreak of the war: over 4,000 targets were attacked, 1,300 of them by the Air Force; at least 300 terrorists were killed, and hundreds more were wounded.

The second arena that saw friction is Judea and Samaria, which carries special tension due to the month of Ramadan that began earlier this week. The IDF carried out arrests and thwarted a terror attack in Samaria. In addition, Border Police forces killed two teenagers who threw Molotov cocktails towards them in the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem. On Wednesday morning, a terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack at the Tunnel Checkpoint on Route 60, in which 2 Israelis were wounded, was neutralized.

The fighting in the Gaza Strip continued yesterday, while at the same time the military and political levels began to indicate more concretely towards Israel’s options for action in Rafah. According to the reports, the operation may begin within a few weeks if the negotiations for the release of the hostages do not advance; in addition, the action will require the recruitment of reserve soldiers on a limited scale, for the reinforcement of the IDF manpower.

Strengthening the forces for the action in Rafah is a short-term solution, and the IDF is now considering plans to increase the total manpower and strength in the long term. On the ground, this is reflected in the renewed opening of Hermon Brigade, and its division from the Golan Brigade with which it was combined only a few years ago. In terms of recruitment, both the ground forces (armor and infantry), the defence forces (engineering, Iron Dome batteries and the air force’s drone system), and the supporters of combat (additional arrays in Military Intelligence) will be increased. This will require more permanent standards (i.e., increasing the budget), while decreasing the number of exemptions from the army in Israeli society – changes that will soon be reflected in Israel.

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