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Will Lebanon's Hezbollah change rules of engagement on Israel to aid Hamas?

Hezbollah has been careful not to escalate the situation along Israel's northern border beyond the accepted norms, but the situation could change quickly depending on events in Gaza.
A smoke plume covers the sun during a forest fire that reportedly ignited after shell fire from Israel, in the Labouneh area in southern Lebanon close to the border with northern Israel, on October 26, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
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NAQOURA, Lebanon — South Lebanon is beautiful in autumn. The green landscape, the blue sea, and the perfect weather encourage feelings of serenity. On Oct. 8, however, another cycle of tit-for-tat exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah interrupted the festival of colors and any tranquility. 

The day before, Hamas had launched its unprecedented attack on Israeli communities bordering Gaza, killing and injuring thousands and capturing over 200 people to hold as hostages in Gaza.

From the start, it became clear to Hezbollah — and to the Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian territories — that Hamas wouldn’t be able to handle the situation alone. 

The day after Hamas members crossed into Israel, Hezbollah attacked military posts in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, a piece of land held by Israel and claimed by the government in Beirut. That operation stayed within the rules of the game: directly attack military posts across the border, refrain from targeting civilians.

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