Israel threatens to send Lebanon ‘back to Stone Age’ as UN warns of ‘potentially apocalyptic’ all-out war between IDF and Hezbollah

Published June 27, 2024
  • Border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah have escalated in recent weeks
  • Easing the Gaza offensive may free up Israeli forces to redeploy to the border 

Israel has sent a stark warning to Hezbollah that it could ‘take Lebanon back to the Stone Age’ if border clashes erupt into a wider regional war.

‘We do not want war, but we are preparing for every scenario,’ he told reporters. ‘Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched.’

Israeli forces have exchanged fire with the militants based in Lebanon ever since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hezbollah’s ally Hamas.

Fears of the border skirmishes boiling over into a full-blown was have grown in recent weeks since Israel revealed it had approved plans for a Lebanon offensive, prompting new threats from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Warning against the escalation of hostilities, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Wednesday that Lebanon was ‘the flashpoint beyond all flashpoints’.

‘It’s beyond planning. It’s potentially apocalyptic,’ warned Griffiths, whose term ends this week.



RELATED: Why an Israel-Hezbollah war would be far more dangerous today than the last time around

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the Lebanese village of Jebbain on May 25, 2024, amid ongoing cross-border clashes between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters.
Published June 27, 2024

“We can plunge Lebanon completely into the dark and take apart Hezbollah’s power in days,” former Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz declared Tuesday at a conference at Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel.

It was just the latest threat from a prominent Israeli public figure against Lebanon and Hezbollah as tensions flare.

It won’t be difficult for Israel to plunge Lebanon into darkness. The country’s power grid, already crippled by decades of mismanagement and the country’s economic collapse, barely functions as it is. A few well-aimed airstrikes will easily finish it off.

Taking apart Hezbollah’s military power in days, however, is a far taller task.

Since its inconclusive 2006 war with the Lebanese militant group, Israel has been planning for a re-match.

Hezbollah too has long been preparing for war.

Its arsenal includes, according to Israeli estimates, at least 150,000 missiles and rockets. Israel estimates the group has already fired 5,000 since October, which means, as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech last week, much of its arsenal remains intact.



RELATED: Hezbollah’s ‘axis of resistance’ allies waiting in reserve to fight Israel

Analysts believe that an expanded conflict could encourage foreign fighters to support Hezbollah and fight Israel.

People walk past posters of late Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin, late chief of Iran’s Quds Force Qassem Suleimani, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and Houthi leader Mahdi al-Mashat at the Sabeen Square in Sanaa, Yemen [File: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]
Published June 26, 2024

The most closely watched border in the Middle East lies between Israel and Lebanon, the site of eight months of tit-for-tat attacks and a possible Israeli land assault on its northern neighbour.

Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to intensify attacks, saying they’re necessary to defeat Hezbollah and return 90,000 Israelis evacuated from their homes in the north since fighting started in early October.

But as Israel’s rhetoric escalates, Lebanon’s Hezbollah has responded with defiance, warning that such a conflict would not only impact Israel more than it thinks, but that it would be felt regionally.

Backing Hezbollah up regionally, analysts say, is the so-called “axis of resistance”, a regional network of armed groups, backed by Iran, who have started to make their presence known since Israel launched its brutal war on Gaza.

On October 7, a Hamas-led attack on Israel killed 1,139 people and took approximately 240 captive into Gaza. Israel immediately launched an assault that has decimated Gaza. Hezbollah began engaging Israel over the border the next day, aiming to divide its focus on Gaza.

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“The axis will participate in confronting any military action by Israel against Lebanon,” Kassem Kassir, an analyst close to Hezbollah, told Al Jazeera.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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