Rory McCarthy and Ian Black
Monday, Jan 5, 2008
Some of the thousands of extra reservists called up by the Israeli military are to be held ready in case of conflict on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, the scene of a long and costly battle two years ago.
As Israeli troops invaded Gaza on Saturday night, the defence minister, Ehud Barak, warned that the military was monitoring the northern border.
“While we are fighting in Gaza, we keep an open eye on the sensitive situation in our northern border,” he said. “We hope the situation there will remain calm; nevertheless we are ready and alert to face any unwarranted development in that area.”
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Last week, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, said he had put his forces on alert. Israel believes Hezbollah has rearmed itself, yet there has been no sign that the group is ready for another conflict. Since the summer of 2006, when Hezbollah and Israel fought a bloody conflict that claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Lebanese and more than 100 Israelis, the border has been quiet, with a UN monitoring force patrolling in southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah is not seen to be in a strong enough position within Lebanon to launch another major confrontation. Parliamentary elections are due in May and few believe the movement would risk upsetting its position ahead of the ballot.
This article was posted: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 10:57 am