Above: IDF Isuzu D-Max vehicle destroyed by Lebanese Hezbollah 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)
On 28JAN15, in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike last week that killed six Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) fighters and an IRGC brigadier general, LH launched Operation "Statement Number One" against an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) motorized column at Sheba Farms.
LH claims its "Quneitra martyrs of the Islamic Resistance" targeted 9 vehicles, with Israeli sources reporting the column included members of the Tzabar battalion of the Givati Brigade ("Highland Brigade”). Israeli sources further state LH fired at least five 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles at the column. Reported IDF casualties are 2 KIA (including a company commander) and 7 WIA.
Israel responded with rocket and artillery strikes against targets along the Lebanon-Israel border, killing a UNIFIL peacekeeper from Spain.
COMMENTARY: Since the IDF strike last week that killed senior Hezbollah and Iranian military leaders, Iran and Hezbollah have publicly declared the intent to retaliate.
Judging by the results, Israel's political and military leadership have again underestimated the tactical capability of Hezbollah. (Past underestimation triggered the 2006 Lebanon War and unsuccessful outcome.)
The IDF experienced Hezbollah 9M133 Kornet ATGM fire during the 2006 Lebanon War. Curiously, despite the heightened sense of risk following last week's IDF strike at Quneitra, soft-skinned vehicles belonging to members Tzabar battalion of the Givati Brigade found themselves within range of infiltrating LH raiders.
Whatever the next moves made by Israel or the Iran-led coalition, it appears the multi-dimensional armed conflicts taking place at or about the Levant are now even more complicated.
Soft-skinned vehicles of the IDF Givati Brigade, successfully targeted during LH's Operation "Statement Number One"
File photo of a Lebanese Hezbollah 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system