What’s Behind Israel’s Failed Operation in South Lebanon
By: Nasser Charara
Published Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Israel’s recent failed operation in Labbouna, South Lebanon raises a number of questions as to what the commando force was planning to do before it fell into Hezbollah’s ambush.
Informed sources following the details of the Israeli operation in South Lebanon report that the force sent across the border was an elite commando unit made up of a hundred soldiers.
Referred to as Unit 269, this force is often used in highly classified and specialized missions like the 1988 assassination of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s second-in-command Abu Jihad in Tunis, in addition to operating in Syria, following the movement of weapons there, according to the same sources.
The operation left a number of unanswered questions about what the Israelis were after and whether the Resistance may have set their trap, in the form of a series of bombs, in order to capture enemy soldiers.
Despite evidence of live rounds having been fired following the ambush, it appears this was only cover from the Israeli side to evacuate their wounded and retreat from the area.
The Labounna area is not ideal terrain for Hezbollah to engage in confrontations with the enemy, but it serves as a strategic point for the Israeli military as it overlooks vast stretches of South Lebanon. Simply depriving Israel of access to this important area is a major achievement for the Resistance.
It remains unclear, however, what was the goal of the Israeli operation: Was it surveillance in nature or did it have a specific target? In either case, the generals in Tel Aviv are trying to figure out just how Hezbollah knew the details of the operation in advance.
Some suggest that the operation was intended to test the readiness and capabilities of Hezbollah in light of the party’s increasing involvement in the Syrian crisis – a test that the Resistance has unequivocally passed, sending a message to all those concerned that despite having to turn its attention to another front, it remains vigilant as ever when it comes to Israel.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.