Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Gaza truce will not bind Israel’s hands against Hezbollah, DM Gallant says standing on Israel’s highest peak

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Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds an operational situation assessment in the Hermon region, July 7, 2024. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD)

A hostage deal and truce agreement with Hamas in Gaza would not bind Israel Defense Forces’ hands in the ongoing war against Hezbollah, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed on Sunday.

Standing on Israel’s highest peak on Mount Hermon, Gallant told troops of the 188th Armored Brigade stationed in the region: “These are critical days in terms of exercising our power against an enemy that only responds to force.”

His comments came against the backdrop of re-energized negotiations regarding a truce between Hamas and Israel, where officials have expressed optimism about the talks for the first time in months.


Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, July 7, 2024. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD)

For months, Hezbollah officials have maintained they would be open to stop their attacks against Israel as soon as the war against Hamas would end.

“I gave a clear directive to the forces stationed in the south and in the north – these are two separate arenas. Even if we reach an agreement in the southern arena, we will continue fighting here, until we bring Hezbollah to reach an agreement and ensure the safe return of Israel’s northern communities to their homes,” Gallant stressed.

On Sunday, Israel’s KAN News cited three “Western sources” reporting that Hezbollah’s deputy leader, Naim Qassem, had expressed willingness to withdraw its forces several kilometers from the border if a truce in Gaza was reached. This statement was made during a recent meeting with Ole Diehl, the deputy director of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND)


Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with IDF soldiers on Mount Hermon, July 7, 2024. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD)

Gallant’s visit to the region came amid another intense day of fighting on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

On Sunday, four individuals were wounded in Hezbollah attacks, including a U.S. citizen, an IDF soldier and two civilians.

After several rocket barrages and the launch of two anti-tank missiles, Hezbollah also launched five drones toward the Hermon region and another drone at the Golan Heights on Sunday evening. Israel responded with waves of airstrikes.

Gallant emphasized: “Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist organizations have lost 450 [fighters] – 15 commanders at the level of brigade commanders or above, were eliminated. This includes 3 division commanders and makes up for over 50% of Hezbollah’s total number of commanders in southern Lebanon. This is very significant.”

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