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Israel attempts to de-escalate tensions with Hezbollah

Preferring to avoid escalation, Israel decided to let Hezbollah emerge unscathed from a July 27 incident and escape humiliation.

The order to open fire on members of the Hezbollah cell who infiltrated Israel in the morning hours of July 27 was given when they were a few dozen meters away from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) position on Mount Dov. The IDF was prepared to the hilt, armed with machine guns and a Merkava 4 tank on the ground and drones in the air. The IDF fire was sudden and massive, but ineffectual — not because the snipers missed their target, but because of the order to deploy “nondirectional fire.” In other words, do not shoot to kill; shoot to make them flee. The snipers and tank crew operated accordingly, under the vigilant eye of the drones buzzing above.

They were very successful, perhaps too much so. Members of the cell, who had been trudging up the slopes of the mountain for hours, camouflaged by the dense undergrowth and skipping patiently from cover to cover, turned back, “running amok,” as one senior military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, described their flight down the dangerous, steep slope covered with shrubs, boulders and other obstacles. “We were worried about them as they ran down,” the Israeli security source told Al-Monitor. “It was a very dangerous course, in heavy heat and we weren’t sure they would make it down in one piece and not totally dehydrated.”

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