“Israel” pushing Hezbollah’s buttons; full-scale war looms


Published: 2024-06-13 14:11

Last Updated: 2024-07-14 10:38

Editor: Hana Afram

Taleb Sami Abdullah's funeral procession (Photo: AP)
Taleb Sami Abdullah's funeral procession (Photo: AP)

The Israeli Occupation has pushed Hezbollah to its limits this week by killing Talib Sami Abdallah, the commander of Hezbollah’s Al-Nassir Unit, in an airstrike in southern Lebanon.

Also Read: 'Will They, Won't They': Hezbollah, Israeli Occupation on brink of full-scale war

This targeted assassination significantly weakens Hezbollah’s command structure. Abdallah’s Al-Nassir Unit is considered to be Hezbollah's first line of attack and defense against “Israel”.

“Hezbollah is stuck now because they were not aware of the [extent of the] gap between them and Israel, which is now clearly unbridgeable,” Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut (AUB), told Al Jazeera.

“Israel’s high-tech offensive is killing Hezbollah’s field leaders and attacking them with impunity.”

The killing of Abu Talib comes amid ongoing diplomatic efforts. Hamas had recently submitted amendments to the US-brokered ceasefire agreement, yet violence on "Israel’s" northern front has surged.

"Israel" has continued to target high-profile figures such as Abu Talib, while Hezbollah has intensified its attacks on "Israel", altering the rules of engagement.

Historically, Hezbollah has favored a gradual build-up of its military capabilities over time rather than immediate retaliation to attacks. However, the current war and increased “Israeli” provocation necessitate swift action to deter further “Israeli” aggression. From Hezbollah's perspective, a decisive response is essential to restore equilibrium.

The key concern now is whether these actions will lead to a full-scale war. Both "Israel" and Hezbollah have repeatedly stated their desire to avoid further escalation. However, their recent actions tell a different story, suggesting that both sides are preparing for the possibility of a broader war.

 - Who was Talib Sami Abdallah? -

Talib Sami Abdallah, better known as “Hajj Abu Talib” was a seasoned commander whose life was dedicated to the resistance against Israeli Occupation and the defense of Lebanese sovereignty.

Born in the town of Adchit in southern Lebanon on March 20, 1969, Abu Talib joined the ranks of Hezbollah in 1984 and quickly established himself as a formidable fighter.

Abu Talib's early years in the resistance saw him participate in defending Muslims in Bosnia from 1992 to 1994. He also played significant roles in operations against the Israeli Occupation of South Lebanon, contributing to the eventual liberation in May 2000.

During the July 2006 “Israeli” war on Lebanon, Abu Talib led major confrontations against the Israeli Occupation on several critical fronts.

In the recent war with the Israeli Occupation, Abu Talib once again demonstrated his leadership by directing military operations against "Israeli" installations and deployment sites along the eastern part of the Lebanese-“Israeli” border, extending to the occupied Syrian Golan. His distinguished service throughout his career earned him multiple commendations from Hezbollah's Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah.

- Hezbollah’s response -

During Abu Talib’s funeral procession, Hashem Safieddine, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, stated that “Israel's” attempts to weaken the resistance through targeted assassinations have historically backfired.

"Israel persists in its folly ... believing that assassinating [resistance] leaders would weaken [it]," Safieddine declared. He stressed that "Israel must understand" that Hezbollah's response will be an increase in operations in support of Gaza, both in intensity and scope.

In a stark warning to "Israel", he added, "If [Israelis] are now whimpering and groaning from what has befallen them in northern occupied Palestine, then they should prepare themselves for weeping and wailing."

Safieddine also paid tribute to Abu Talib's history and achievements, stating that he is "one of the heroes of the July 2006 war, and it is natural for him to always be a target for the occupation”.

“Our response after the martyrdom of Abu Talib will be to intensify our operations in severity, strength, quantity, and quality,” Safieddine said during the funeral ceremony. “Let the enemy wait for us in the battlefield.”

 - And so they did - 

On Wednesday morning, Hezbollah launched one of its largest rocket barrages at northern “Israel” since October 7, consisting of over 200 projectiles.

The Israeli Occupation reported that many of the rockets were intercepted by their defense systems, but several managed to land, resulting in fires.

Also Read: Netanyahu warns Hezbollah: We are ready for action in the north

In response to the rocket attacks, "Israeli" warplanes targeted the launch sites in southern Lebanon’s Yaroun. Aerial footage released by the Israeli Occupation showed the warplanes striking what they identified as the origin of the rocket barrage.