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January 5, 2016 4:26 pm

Report: Russia Tries to Rein in Hezbollah After IDF Convoy Attack

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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A Hezbollah outpost near the Israel-Lebanon border, following Israel's withdrawal in 2000. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Hezbollah outpost near the Israel-Lebanon border, following Israel’s withdrawal in 2000. Photo: Wikipedia.

Russia encouraged Hezbollah to keep the peace with Israel on the Lebanese border, Israeli national radio reported on Tuesday.

According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, Moscow wants to prevent a violent conflict from erupting between Hezbollah and the IDF beyond Monday’s attack, in which Hezbollah bombed an IDF convoy in the largely rural region straddling the hilly Israeli-Lebanese border, Israel Radio reported.

Hezbollah’s ongoing involvement in the Syrian civil war, the deepening crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which backs Hezbollah, and the group’s ongoing battles with rebel groups on the Lebanese border have not drawn Hezbollah’s attention away from its open-ended battle with Israel, according to the report.

Russia and Hezbollah are both fighting rebel groups in Syria opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose crackdown against the opposition has resulted in 350,000 dead and millions displaced. Some reports have suggested that Hezbollah may have lost up to 2,000 fighters in the fighting in Syria, particularly around Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Senior IDF officials commented on Monday’s blast, which Hezbollah said targeted an IDF convoy carrying a senior army officer, saying it was an “exceptionally large explosive device.”

The attack came two weeks after the IDF reportedly assassinated Hezbollah operative Samir Kuntar, whose death Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to avenge.

The IDF has been on high alert on the northern border for the two weeks since Kuntar’s death, and a senior military official said Israel was not underestimating the threat even now. “We are at the very highest levels of preparedness,” he said, according to Israel Radio.

The IDF responded to Monday’s blast by firing about 40 shells at various predetermined targets in Lebanon. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and other senior defense officials, including the head of IDF intelligence, and decided ultimately to keep the IDF on high alert.

A senior IDF official told Israel Radio that the army does not believe Hezbollah wants to spark a larger conflict or escalate tensions with Israel.

“Has Nasrallah settled the score over Kuntar’s death? It’s unclear. The defense authorities and the IDF will in any case be prepared for the possibility that Hezbollah will launch additional attacks against Israel,” the official told Israel Radio.

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  • Wm. J. Levy

    Note if Israel acted the way Russia acts not caring about civilian casualties every nation in the world would be condemning her.

    Israel should stop playing tit-for-tat with her enemies like America does.

    Stop being reactive as opposed to being pro-active.

    Strike them down every moment of every day so they are constantly kept off balance.

    Large gathering of Hizbollah? Drone them.

    • Boris Kapilevich

      I agree with your point of view.

  • The confusing goodbad of the mideast. Hellzballah helping Assad = good, attacking Israel = bad.

    Assad is the good guy in Syria – compared to other mideast dictators – and commpared to any replacement.

  • Partha

    I love and respect this country. If Russia is helping Israel, it is good beginning. I hope, one day, all Israelis will pass their days without any security or anxiety concern. May God bless this country.

  • Carol

    Did Russia really think they could contain Hezbollah?????

    • Yale

      If Putin concludes that Hezbollah’s activities are a net negative for his objectives, he will have no hesitation about going after them. Nasrallah knows this, which gives Russia a great deal of leverage over what Hezbollah does. For the meantime, Hezbollah is useful for protecting Russia’s interests in Syria, so he hasn’t struck. But Nasrallah cannot assume he never will.

  • Mayven

    Mere speculation…only!
    Personally I would never never even discuss this reference.
    Media is so irresponsible…and Israel media does not take a back seat!
    Hezbollah is bent on total destruction.Russian influence is Not!

  • As an American Jew,I am so proud of everyone who serves and has served in the IDF including my own nephew Arik, a former paramedic.

  • Pierrette Winter

    Rein in, not reign in. I love your pages, but please be careful with spelling. It adds gravitas.