BEIRUT: Israel is elevating its state of readiness on its northern front in light of reports that events in Syria will have major repercussions on the Jewish State, Thursday’s Al-Hayat reported.
“The inactivity of Hezbollah at the military level at this time does not mean the situation will remain like this. From our side, we will always be at the utmost state of readiness as if war might break out next week,” Israel’s Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai was quoted as saying while inspecting the northern Israeli district of Kiryat Shmona for its level of preparedness.
“Hezbollah realized that Israel is able to confront it in a strong way which makes [the party] cautious against any move toward Israel,” Vilnai also said.
Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, in recent televised speech, warned that any attack against allies Syria or Iran would engulf the entire region, hinting at the possibility of opening Lebanon’s southern front against the Jewish state.
Nasrallah has repeatedly stated it is well equipped and ready for any possible future war with Israel.
Syria has been under international and Arab pressure to implement reforms and halt its violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. The U.N. has estimated that around 3,500 people have died as a result of the crackdown.
Damascus blames the violence on "armed gangs" and has warned the international community not to intervene in its internal affairs.
According to the pan-Arab newspaper, Vilnai, a former Israeli Army major general, also said that defense and security services were equipping the northern region against Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah has become a dangerous organization and should not be ignored and we [should not] overlook the truth that it is strengthening its missile arsenal,” the Israeli minister said, adding that the party was developing a military system with modern missiles and enhancing its military capabilities.
As part of preparations, some northern towns in Israel will take part in drills aimed at preparing residents the area for possible heavy missile shelling using both conventional and non-conventional arsenals, the paper reported.
Other mock exercises, scheduled next Wednesday and Thursday, will test the readiness of hospitals in the north in the event the population was exposed to a lethal virus.
In his speech on Nov. 11, Nasrallah ruled out the possibility of an Israeli attack against Lebanon saying: “It is unlikely that Israel would wage war against Lebanon ... Lebanon is in a position where it can turn the tables on those who attack them.”
Since the end of the July-August 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel, the Jewish state has warned against underestimating Hezbollah’s military capabilities.