The pro-iranian Lebanese Hizballah staged two drive-by shooting attacks into northern Israel Wednesday, Oct. 26 from Lebanon, slightly injuring an Israel soldier. The two rounds of gunfire came from a moving vehicle driving on the Lebanese side of the border fence and were aimed at soldiers posted at the security fence at Metula, Israel’s northernmost town
The IDF was ready for the second round of shooting and returned the fire, hitting at least one target. It is not clear whether Hizballah gunmen were injured.
The Lebanese army denied that this cross-border exchange of fire took place. In August too, they denied
that two large explosive devices found hidden on Metula farmland had come from Lebanon.
It turned out that the bombs had been planted by Hizballah infiltrators in July, ready to be picked by an agent of Hizballah’s anti-Israel intelligence and terrorist apparatus, headed by Ahmed Mughniyeh, brother of the late notorious terror master Imad, for passing into the hands of a Palestinian terrorist team for a multi-casualty attack in Israel.
The bombs were discovered in time to avert this attack.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that the incidents are revealing in two ways:
1. The Hizballah organization has apparently decided to engage in low-intensity operations so as to keep the Israeli border in a state of controlled tension.
2. Hizballah and Iran have been forced to give up their plans to heat up the Israeli border region from the Syrian side of the Golan. In September, the Lebanese group withdrew the elite units they had deployed in July to Quneitra for that purpose, at around the same time as the explosive devices were planted in Metula.
Our sources disclose exclusively that Hizballah and its masters in Tehran have de-escalated their confrontation with Israel in response to a warning from Moscow.
In one of his regular telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked him to intercede to avert explosions of violence from Syria or Lebanon. Putin acceded to this request and sent a personal directive to Lt. Gen. Alexander Zhuraviev, commander of Russian forces in Syria to act on it.
Some weeks ago, the Russian general summoned a senior Hizballah officer, called Talal Hamia. to a meeting in Latakia. Hamia is head of Hizballah’s “foreign operations unit 910” – i.e. its external terror apparatus. Gen. Zhuraviev warned him that at a time that Aleppo is in the midst of a critical battle with Syrian rebels, Moscow would not tolerate the stirring up of border tensions with Israel from Syria.
The Lebanese terrorists chose to treat the warning as limited to Syria and decided it had a free hand to continue to make trouble for Israel from Lebanon, albeit without going far enough to risk repercussions from Moscow.