IDF troops stationed along the northern border of Israel were put on high alert Monday as the country braced for possible retaliation by Hezbollah following an IAF airstrike that killed six of the group’s operatives.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz confirmed late Monday that the army was monitoring developments along the border and preparing for possible attacks.
“The IDF is prepared, tracking all developments, and ready to act as needed,” Gantz stated. “This statement is not simply a speech – it’s a matter of real operation preparedness.”
The chief of staff did not comment on the airstrike, which the IDF has yet to claim or deny responsibility. Aside from six Hezbollah operatives, several Iranian fighters, including an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, were killed in the strike.
In the north, additional IDF units were posted along the border and told to stand guard in fighting condition. Media reports indicate that several Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed and active in anticipation of a rocket attack by Hezbollah.
Israeli farmers whose fields are near the border were told to stay home by the IDF, Channel 10 reported.
Last Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced that the terror group obtained Fateh-110 missiles, which can a maximum range of 200 kilometers (125 miles) and can hit any point in Israel.
Sources inside Hezbollah told foreign media that the group would retaliate but restrain itself enough to not provoke a full blown war with Israel.
Hezbollah vowed revenge for the airstrike, which killed one of its commanders, 25-year-old Jihad Mughniyeh. Jihad is the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah commander who was killed in Damascus in 2008.
Jihad Mughniyeh was the Shiite groups Golan District commander and was on a reconnaissance in the Quneitra region in Syria with fellow Hezbollah operatives and Iranian counterparts.
“While a group of Hezbollah fighters were on a field inspection of the town, Mazrat al-Amal… They faced rocket shelling from helicopters of the Israeli enemy, leading to the martyrdom of a number of holy warrior brothers…” Hezbollah said in a statement.
Thousands of Hezbollah supporters flooded the streets of Beirut on Monday as Mughniyeh was buried. Protestors pumped their fists angrily in the air, chanting “Death to Israel.”