Palestinian fighters based in southern Lebanon may be preparing to retaliate for the assault on Gaza by striking across the border and opening a second front against Israel.
By Andrew Wander in Beirut
The Telegraph (UK)
This would mark a major escalation, possibly provoking an Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a regional war.
The UN peacekeeping force in the country, UNIFIL, and the Lebanese Army have stepped up their patrols amid rising tension along the frontier.
“The usual measures have been fortified along the border,” said a senior Lebanese military official.
At least five Israeli warplanes have already conducted “mock air raids” over towns in southern Lebanon, according to the national news agency.
Unmanned reconnaissance drones carried out extensive surveillance of the area on Saturday night.
The Israeli Air Force flies regular reconnaissance missions over Lebanon, in violation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah, the radical Shia movement, in 2006.
Hizbollah, which controls most of southern Lebanon, has amassed perhaps as many as 40,000 missiles for use against Israel. But this arsenal, largely supplied by Iran, is probably being held in reserve to retaliate for any future Israeli or American assault on Tehran.
Palestinian fighters could, however, open a second front against Israel without Hizbollah’s direct involvement.
The question is whether this would reignite the war between Hizbollah and Israel.