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Israel preparing for “mass burials” ahead of impending offensive in Lebanon
By Cassie B. // Jun 21, 2024

Israel is preparing for a “mass burial” in the northern part of the country as the possibility of an attack on nearby Lebanon looms and tensions rise between the two adversaries.

Israeli Minister of Religious Affairs Michael Malchieli told the media that his ministry was handling several issues related to the war in Gaza, and preparing for burials is just one of them.

He told Channel 14: "We are busy with many things related to the war, in preparation, unfortunately, also for whatever - may it not happen - in the north."

When the interviewer asked him if Israel is anticipating any “mass burial” scenarios, he answered in the affirmative, saying that additional deaths from the conflict with Lebanon were a real possibility.

"We in the ministry are holding meetings and preparations for bigger things in the north, yes," he replied.

The Israeli military recently announced that plans for an upcoming offensive in Lebanon had been approved, and they have already started launching strikes on Hezbollah drone launch squads. They also said they have made decisions about “increasing the readiness of troops in the field.”

Just hours before the announcement, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group broadcast video footage it claims was taken by a surveillance drone over Haifa, a port city in northern Israel, in what is widely being interpreted as a warning to Israel against starting a conflict with them. The video ran for nine minutes and pinpointed important locations such as civilian infrastructure and military sites.

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Israel responded angrily to the video. Foreign Minister Israel Katz cautioned in a post on X: “We are very close to the moment of decision to change the rules against Hezbollah and Lebanon. In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely hit."

“The State of Israel will pay a price on the front and home fronts, but with a strong and united nation, and the full power of the IDF, we will restore security to the residents of the north,” he added.

The Lebanese militant group has been trading fire with Israeli forces on a regular basis since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began last October. However, there has been a significant escalation in the last week, with Hezbollah firing dozens of rockets at Israel after the Jewish state killed one of their commanders with an air strike.

Israel shifting its focus from Gaza to fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon

It is believed that when fighting in Gaza slows down, Israel will shift its full focus to its northern border, where it will try to push Hezbollah back so that the tens of thousands of Israelis who have been displaced can return home before school starts in the fall.

American and Israeli officials are worried that if a full-blown war breaks out between Israel and Hezbollah, the group may overwhelm Israeli air defenses in the northern part of the country, including its Iron Dome air defense system. They believe that at least some of the Iron Dome's batteries could be overwhelmed when faced by Hezbollah’s impressive arsenal of drones and missiles, especially if they carry out a large-scale attack with precision-guided weapons.

U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein was dispatched to the region this week for meetings in both Lebanon and Israel to try to soothe tensions. He told reporters in Beirut on Tuesday that the two countries had reached “a serious time and a critical moment.”

“It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically. That is both achievable and it is urgent,” he added.

Israel wants Hezbollah to pull its forces back from the border area, while Hezbollah maintains it won’t agree to any deals without a ceasefire in Gaza.

Sources for this article include:




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