IDF vs. ISIS and Hezbollah (Archive: Gadi Yampel, IDF/CC)

A former IDF chief divulged dramatic details about Israel’s battle against Hezbollah and ISIS in an interview with Maariv daily. Retired General Gadi Eisenkot provided a rare glimpse into the army’s covert action to thwart threats across the Middle East.  

Israel was engaged in an intensive campaign to counter ISIS throughout the region, Eisenkot revealed. The IDF carried out numerous special operations and airstrikes on ISIS forces in cooperation with foreign armies, he said.

Overall, Israel killed hundreds of ISIS fighters and wounded over 1,000, the ex-army chief said. The IDF also destroyed multiple ISIS sites while deploying a wide array of weapons and forces including UAVs, commando units and snipers, he added.

Notably, Israel continues to view ISIS as a potential threat actor on several fronts. Last year, the IDF mobilized large forces near the Jordan border in a drill simulating an ISIS raid on a school. The army held additional exercises on the Egyptian and Jordanian border.

Hezbollah invasion plan

Eisenkot also shared information on Hezbollah’s plans to launch a raid into Israel. The Lebanon-based group planned to conquer the northern Galilee region by invading via mega-tunnels, the ex-IDF chief said.

The tunnels were 10 lanes wide and enabled Hezbollah to mobilize large forces and equipment into Israeli territory, he said. Notably, the group’s elite Radwan Force has been training for an assault on Israel for some time.

The IDF foiled Hezbollah’s plot in 2019, under Eisenkot command. The army launched a month-long operation, Northern Shield, to expose and neutralize six cross-border tunnels. Today, the IDF’s underground detection lab continues to monitor the Lebanon border area for renewed Hezbollah activity.

The threat was one of gravest faced by Israel in past 20 years, second only to the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by the IDF in 2007, Eisenkot said. Israel launched an assault on the secretive site after Mossad obtained detailed information about Syria’s nuclear efforts.