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While focus in the Levant remains on the airstrikes on the Gaza strip by Israeli Defense Forces amidst Hamas rocket barrages, there have been a number of incidents on Israel's northern border with Lebanon that could escalate if not contained swiftly.

  • On 13 May, five missiles were fired from Lebanon in the direction of Israel, but two landed in Lebanon and three fell into the sea. This was followed by six more missiles fired from south of the city of Tyre towards Israel on 17 May according to the Times of Israel. These all fell short of the Israeli border.
  • In a change from the expected suspects, AFP has reported that according to two sources close to the group, Hezbollah - the Iranian-backed Shi'a terrorist group that controls significant swathes of Lebanon - was not responsible for the attacks.
  • Instead, suspicion has fallen on Palestinian radicals from the Rashidieh camp of refugees in southern Lebanon near Tyre.
  • The UN peacekeeping force UNFIL stated yesterday that "UNIFIL detected firing of rockets from the general area of Rashaya Al Foukhar north of Kfar Chouba in S. Lebanon." This was met by Israeli artillery shelling of supposed radical positions in Lebanon.
  • There is the potential that the situation on the Lebanese border could escalate, with one Hezbollah member killed by Israeli fire following a protest at the border.
  • However, given the scale of the conflict in and around Gaza, the Israeli gov't may be wary of engaging in two large-scale conflicts on its northern and southern borders. While Hezbollah is not seemingly engaged in any attacks as of yet, the group commands advanced missile weaponry courtesy of its links with Iran. If deployed, in combination with Hamas rockets from the south, it could result in an even greater military conflagration.
Map of Lebanese-Israeli Border and UN-Mandated 'Blue Line'

Source: UNFIL Map