As Israel Reels from Attacks, Experts Warn of Hezbollah Threat along Northern Border
As Israel continues to reel from the devastating attacks perpetrated by Hamas terrorists over the weekend, the latest casualty numbers from Israeli media report that at least 57 soldiers and 34 police have been killed, with more than 900 Israeli civilians killed and 2,600 wounded and dozens of hostages still unaccounted for. Meanwhile, experts remain concerned that additional attacks could come from Hezbollah terrorists along the country’s northern border.
Lela Gilbert, a senior fellow for International Religious Freedom at Family Research Council, relayed a report on the ground at 12:30 a.m. EDT from an Israeli source, who stated that “the fighting in towns in the south continues, and there are terrorists still hiding and moving inside the Israeli population. Israeli security forces have retaken most of the towns and areas held by Hamas, but not all areas. Tensions increased in the northern border with Hezbollah. Today we have seen rocket and artillery fire exchanged in the early hours of the morning.”
Gilbert, who spent a decade living in Israel, commented to The Washington Stand that she is particularly concerned about threats of more attacks along Israel’s northern border.
“A source on the ground has shared with me that there are evacuations of some of the kibbutzim that are near the northern border with Lebanon,” she explained. “I think that is actually even more dangerous. It sounds terrible to say that right now after what’s happened, but that’s Hezbollah. Hezbollah is directly funded by Iran, and they have been itching to invade Israel from the north for a long time. When I was in Israel in August, it was just a matter of time — everybody knew that. That’s what is worrying me right now is that there’s going to be another horrifying story up there.”
Gilbert continued, “Hezbollah is much more of an organized and well-armed group, and clearly an arm of Iran. Hassan Nasrallah, who is the kingpin up there, has really been spewing out threats for years. I went on a tour of the northern border with a friend in the military, and you could almost throw a rock at the places that are occupied. They’ve put rockets everywhere. I think they have over 100,000 rockets in homes along the southern area, so it’s all set up for a terrible war.”
Although there have been a series of violent flare-ups and missile attacks coming from Gaza over the past few years, the barrage of rocket fire and ongoing incursion by terrorists into Israel that began over the weekend are unprecedented in their apparent coordination, scope, and ferocity, with observers speculating as to the root motivation for the attacks.
“I think it’s due to a kind of weakness that has been projected by Israel,” Gilbert said. “Israel has tried to be peaceable, and there are people that are just saying, ‘Oh, be nice to them and they’ll be nice to us.’ There’s always that philosophy. And in Israel, there’s been a lot of division. There have been a lot of political demonstrations for weeks and weeks in the streets both for and against [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, which have ripped the country apart. I think that it has communicated weakness and the country being divided. They’re saying now that this is Israel’s 9/11.”
As numerous reports have indicated, what is particularly shocking about the terrorist siege is how unprepared the Israeli government and military forces appeared to be as the attack unfolded.
“It’s a huge intelligence failure,” Gilbert told TWS. “And that is a big question. In my mind, there are two big questions: what’s going to happen in the north, and how on earth did this Gaza invasion happen? I think there was some kind of issue with the intelligence. I don’t know this, I just suspect that there’s been some kind of manipulation by the Left or even worse, because this is just unbelievable. For me, that’s been the biggest shocker of all.”
Gilbert went on to express concern about “the weakness of our American government” and its willingness to deal with Iran. “It looks like there has been some complicity with Iran by people in leadership,” she noted. “There has been weakness and there has also been a kind of drowsiness in Israel. Maybe they thought, ‘Well, we’ve got it covered.’”
Gilbert further pointed out that no one should be surprised by the reported brutality with which the Hamas terrorists have perpetrated their attacks.
“This expression of radical Islamism has gone on since the time of Mohammed,” she emphasized. “We don’t understand these kinds of brutalities, but that’s what they do. The stories that have come out of Afghanistan since our withdrawal are very similar to what we’re hearing is happening in Israel, the kinds of torture and brutality and of women being abused. Women are kidnapped, raped, taken as hostages, and used to bear children for the radicals — it’s a very common practice.”
Gilbert finally urged believers to pray earnestly for the violence to end.
“It really gets down to praying,” she underscored. “We need people to tell the truth about the hostility. We need to pray for truth to be exposed. There’s so much subterfuge, and really this collapse of intelligence — there’s something evil going on behind the scenes that we can’t see and we can’t even name. But we really need to pray against the enemy, and against fools that follow their directions. There are some naïve people that want peace at any price, and they don’t understand the cost.”
Gilbert relayed an additional prayer request from a resident in Jerusalem, which read:
- That the border to the north will remain quiet and Hezbollah will not engage.
- For all who have been taken hostage.
- For God’s grace and comfort to be with all grieving families.
- That the Israeli military will be able to do what they need to do to clear out the terrorists from Israel and Gaza with minimal casualties.
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.