The IDF has been on high alert since the weekend following threats from Hezbollah, Iran, and Lebanon.
Israel attacked an Iranian military base and a terrorist cell in Syria on Saturday night as they prepared to launch a drone attack against Israel. Iran responded with a verbal threat. Ali Rabiei, a spokesperson for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency on Monday, “Israel will pay a high price for its attacks. Repeated acts of aggression against Iraq are black stains on track records of this regime and we condemn any aggression against the sovereignty of regional countries.”
Channel 12 News cited an unnamed senior IDF officer who predicted that a Hezbollah attack would target Israeli military positions.
“The Israeli response to an attack will be disproportionate,” the officer said.
Tensions notched up even higher after two drones crashed outside a Hezbollah building in Beirut on Sunday. One of the drones crashed into the roof of the Hezbollah Media Center while the second one exploded in the air and damaged the building. Hezbollah and the Lebanese government blamed Israel but the Israeli government denied the accusation.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun discussed the alleged Israeli drone strikes against Iranian military targets in his country with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Ján Kubiš, calling them a “declaration of war.”
“What happened was similar to a declaration of war which allows us to resort to our right to defending our sovereignty,” Aoun’s office quoted him as saying on Twitter.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday held a meeting with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council which included a representative from the U.S. Lebanese news site Naharnet reported that Hariri called the alleged drone-strike a “clear Israeli violation of Lebanese sovereignty.”
The Lebanese government is allied with Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a televised speech on Sunday in which he threatened Israel with reprisals.
“From tonight, I tell the Israeli army on the border, be prepared and wait for us,” Nasrallah said in the televised address, threatening that retaliation could come in “one day, two days, three days…”
“The home front is in a state of routine, and we are working to preserve that. The IDF has increased its level of preparedness, both in terms of defense and attack,” said Brig. Gen. Amit Fisher, the head of the IDF’s Bashan Division in the Northern Command.
Despite the rising tensions, it was reported that the IDF requested that the residents of northern Israel continue with their daily routine.
“Civilian activities are to continue as usual. All activities can go on, including trips and agricultural work. There are no restrictions on movement. At the same time, we as a military are advancing preparations for every scenario. There will be a lot of movement in the area,” the IDF stated according to an article on the Walla news site on Monday.
After a cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the situation, calling on the world community to help Israel cope with aggressive Iranian expansionism.
“Iran is working on a broad front to carry out murderous terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will continue to defend its security however that may be necessary. I call on the international community to act immediately so that Iran halts these attacks.”
“[Israel will not] tolerate aggression against Israel from any country in the region. Any country that allows its territory to be used for aggression against Israel will face the consequences, and I repeat: the country will face the consequences.”
The office of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Sunday that Netanyahu had discussed the situation with the U.S.
“The secretary expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself against threats posed by the Iranian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps and to take action to prevent imminent attacks against Israeli assets in the region,” Pompeo’s office said in a statement.
“The secretary and the prime minister discussed how Iran is leveraging its foothold in Syria to threaten Israel and its neighbors. The prime minister noted that Israel would strike IRGC targets threatening Israel, wherever they are located,” the statement said.
Israel is also coping with increasing rocket attacks from Gaza as well as a wave of deadly internal terrorist attacks.