Israeli strikes against Lebanon continued over the weekend, with a Saturday drone attack hitting a car near the southern port of Sidon. The attack killed at least two people and wounded two others, making it one of the deepest single drone strikes at 37 miles from the Israel border.
The intended target of the drone strike is still not totally clear, although early rumors were that it aimed to kill Basel Salah, a top Hamas operative. Israel has not confirmed Salah was the target, but media reports are that he survived the attack. Israeli reports did say a Hezbollah member was slain in the strike, though what his position was is not certain.
On Sunday, Israeli warplanes hit a series of observation posts and other sites referred to as “Hezbollah infrastructure” by Israeli officials. The strikes were mostly in the far south of the country, near the border region.
As Israel increasingly treats a war in Lebanon as a foregone conclusion, a new 130-page report was released from a number of think-tanks that included many of Israel’s high-ranking generals. The report, as with a previous report from the US, warned of possible Israeli unreadiness to open a second front at the northern border.
Top Israeli military leaders have protested for weeks that they are ready for a Lebanon War and, indeed, are ready to launch a war at a moment’s notice. This pronouncement is mostly made along with a claim that the Gaza War is all but over, despite the fact that substantial Israeli forces are still fighting in the strip.
The new report warned that a potential southern occupation, which has been advocated by many politicians, would be the deadliest conflict since Israel’s inception, and that thousands of Hezbollah rockets would instantly be fired daily in retaliation.
The report, from the Counter-Terrorism Policy Institute at Reichman University in Israel, was said to have been presented to policy makers ahead of October 7, but was largely dismissed out of hand, arguing Hamas didn’t have the capabilities the report assumed. The US has similarly warned Israel a two-front war would be more difficult than they’re expecting. However, while the Israeli government seems content to let the US try, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a deal preventing the conflict, the Israeli assumption is that US military support will continue.