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Israel assesses Nasrallah's next move amid escalation on northern border

Jerusalem is concerned that internal pressures in Lebanon on Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah could be translated into more violence against Israel.
Israeli soldiers close a gate near the Kibbutz of Shtula, near the border with Lebanon, July 3, 2022.

Since the surprise eruption of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Israel has invested a major effort in trying to read Hezbollaz leader Hassan Nasrallah and understand the way he operates. “This is the most stable and responsible leader in the Middle East,” a top military intelligence official told Al-Monitor recently on condition of anonymity. “We should be praying for his well-being. He is calculated, credible, plays by the rules, sticks to his promises — and at the same time he is deterred. I wish we had others like him on other fronts.”

This assessment is now being challenged. On July 2, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the interception of three Hezbollah drones launched toward Israel’s Karish gas drilling platform in its Mediterranean economic waters. At least two were struck down by the navy’s Barak class interceptor system (a facsimile of the ground-based Iron Dome) deployed on its Eilat missile boat. Nasrallah did not appear overly concerned, but declared that if Lebanon’s economic water rights are undermined, he would go to war. He even set a deadline: September, just over a month away.

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