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Netanyahu says Israel ‘prepared for very intense operation’ on Lebanon border

Netanyahu rival says Israel lost deterrence against Iran
Source: Video Screenshot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel was “prepared for a very intense operation” along the border with Lebanon, where Israeli troops have exchanged near-daily fire with Hezbollah fighters.

Almost eight months of exchanges between Israel and the Iran-backed movement, a Hamas ally, have intensified over the past week, with Israel striking deeper into Lebanese territory.

“We are prepared for a very intense operation in the north. One way or another, we will restore security to the north,” Netanyahu said during a visit to the border area.

Hezbollah said later it launched several attacks on Israeli positions during the day, including a “guided missile” strike on an “Iron Dome platform in the Ramot Naftali barracks”.

In past weeks, Israel has ramped up its targeting of Hezbollah fighters and allied Palestinian and Lebanese militants in cars and on motorbikes in Lebanon.

Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich have both called in recent days for urgent action to restore security to northern Israel.

“They burn us here, all Hezbollah strongholds should also burn and be destroyed. WAR!” Ben Gvir said on Tuesday in a Telegram post.

Smotrich said on Monday: “We must move the security strip from inside Israeli territory in the Galilee to southern Lebanon, including a ground invasion, occupation of the territory and distancing Hezbollah terrorists and hundreds of thousands of Lebanese among whom Hezbollah hides to the other side of the Litani river,” nearly 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the border.

The violence since early October has killed at least 455 people in Lebanon, mostly fighters but including 88 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, at least 14 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed, according to the army.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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