WAZZANI, Lebanon: Farmers and shepherds in the villages adjacent to Israel say activity on the other side of the border has been unusually quiet, with no sight of Israeli army patrols, an indication that the Jewish state might be fearing retaliatory action from Hezbollah.
Israeli warplanes on Monday launched an attack on a Hezbollah convoy said to be carrying missiles from Syria.
“Everyone should understand that the resistance is ready, along with the Lebanese Army, to confront aggression and that we are all here too, as part of Hezbollah,” said Mahmoud Rammal, a farmer from the border town of Wazzani.
In the village veterinarians from the Spanish peacekeeping contingent were treating sick livestock as part of a seasonal local campaign.
Khadija, who had brought her sick sheep to the field clinic, said she hadn’t seen Israeli patrols around the area recently. “We are at our best; it is them, the Israelis, who are scrambling. Their patrols have vanished and their settlers have stopped coming to their citrus orchards.”
Rammal said that no one on the Israeli side had come to tend to their citrus orchards or factories.
“The Israelis are living in fear and they have asked everyone to keep away from the border regions, which are within firing range of the Lebanese Army and the resistance. If any battle is waged with the Israeli enemy this time we will dance inside their settlements,” he said. “We want the new Cabinet to realize why we want the resistance to be mentioned in the policy statement.”
In Monday’s attack, Israeli warplanes launched four rockets targeting a shipment of “qualitative” weapons in the border area of Janta near the eastern village of Nabi Sheet.
Hezbollah has important military posts and training camps in Nabi Sheet that were established not long after the party was formed in 1982.
Security sources told The Daily Star that four members of Hezbollah were killed in the Israeli airstrike and that the operation on the eastern Lebanese-Syrian border had targeted a missile shipment from Syria.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a security source said Thursday the airstrike had targeted two trucks, one transferring missiles and the other carrying a missile launcher. The source said the trucks were heading to Hezbollah’s missile warehouses in Lebanon.
“No unusual measures or movements were observed in the occupied village of Ghajar; the Israeli army is still stationed in it. However, patrols have stopped and soldiers are confined to their posts and behind their barricades,” the source said.
The Lebanese Army, along with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has been conducting routine patrols along the borders.
UNIFIL peacekeepers said they hadn’t observed any unusual military measures being taken on the Israeli side. But a UNIFIL officer, who requested anonymity, told The Daily Star that “the usual Israeli patrols along the borders have vanished and we are coordinating with the Lebanese Army Command.”
Saleh al-Mohammad, a shepherd who was tending his sheep along the mountainous Wazzani border area facing the occupied part of Ghajar, brushed off the threat of any escalation on the border: “We are in our country, on our lands and the Lebanese Army is launching patrols along the borders and in the region, why should we be afraid?”