Friday, March 21, 2014

IDF Northern Command Chief: Situation is Explosive, One Spark Could Ignite Major Confrontation

by Gidon Ben-zvi

Recent clashes between Israeli Defense Force soldiers and terrorist groups operating across the border have created a potentially explosive situation for Israel, GOC Northern Command Major General Yair Golan told the French newspaper Le Figaro on Tuesday.

“The situation has become explosive, with one more spark being able to ignite a confrontation,” Golan said in his interview, cited by Israel’s Walla.

Four IDF soldiers were injured on Tuesday, one severely, by an explosive device detonated in the Golan Heights along the Syrian border. The IDF said in a statement that in response it “retaliated towards Syrian military positions.”

The IDF is concerned about the  growing number of Jihadist terrorist cells from around the world that have established footholds just across the Israeli border with Syria, Golan explained.

“After the Assad regime, Israel will be their next target,” he said.

In response to the escalating tension up north, the Israeli military is building a”smart” security fence, replacing reserve forces with army regulars and enhancing its intelligence gathering capabilities, Golan told Le Figaro.

He explained that while to date “there are only 300 fighters and they have been careful to not attack us directly,” the IDF has already developed a plan of action should the security situation intensify.

Regarding terror group Hezbollah’s role in the recent attacks against Israeli soldiers up north, Golan noted that since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Shiite Jihadist terrorist organization has been making concerted efforts to obtain weapons from Iran and Russia via Syria.

“Hezbollah is seeking to bridge the arms gap between it and Israel as well as to increase its deterrent capability,” the IDF general added.

Major General Golan also touched on the issue of Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, Walla reported. He said at least 5,000 members of the Lebanon-based group, which is funded and guided by Iran, have participated in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody war.

While Hezbollah has lost between 200 and 300 fighters in Syria, Golan asserted that the organization has “gained valuable operational experience.”

Gidon Ben-zvi


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