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August 5, 2020 12:54 pm

Israeli Military Keeping Close Eye on Lebanon Following Beirut Explosion

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A UNIFIL vehicle drives past a Hezbollah flag in the southern Lebanese village of Khiam, near the border with Israel, July 28, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Aziz Taher.

The Israeli security establishment is keeping a close eye on developments in Lebanon following the massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, and is maintaining its high-alert status on the northern border.

Coming amid escalating tensions with the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, including an attempted infiltration last week, the deadly Beirut blast caught the security establishment by surprise, the Israeli news site Walla reported.

Officials from across the spectrum emphatically denied that Israel was responsible for the explosion, and have offered humanitarian and medical aid. This appears to have lowered suspicions of Israeli involvement in Lebanon, which were widespread immediately after the blast.

There is concern that Israel’s enemies could exploit the chaos to their own ends, with particular emphasis on a possible arms shipment to Lebanon by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The main concern, however, remains Hezbollah, which appears to have been completely blindsided by the Beirut explosion. Accordingly, the IDF has not lowered its alert level or reduced its forces along the northern border.

The impact of the disaster on Hezbollah, Israel believes, is currently unknown. On the one hand, the Lebanese people might blame Hezbollah for the incident, and Arab countries could see this as an opportunity to push the terror group and its Iranian sponsors out of Lebanon.

On the other hand, Hezbollah may be able to bring its considerable resources to bear on disaster relief, thus earning it goodwill among otherwise hostile sectors of the Lebanese population.

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