Intelligence Briefing: Will Hezbollah Attack Israel?

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah (Photo: Pixabay)

Is Hezbollah planning a surprise attack on Israel? The terror group’s moves have been predictable so far, but Israel should not be overly confident about predicting Hezbollah’s future actions, says ex-IDF Intelligence Chief Tamir Hayman.

Absolute certainty in intelligence matters is not only rare but can be dangerously misleading. The Israeli intel community learned this painful lesson on October 7.  

Despite mounting evidence of military preparations in Gaza, Israel’s intel chiefs dismissed the signs, failing to seriously consider extreme scenarios or fully assess Hamas intentions and capabilities. The result was a catastrophic surprise attack that caught the IDF off guard.

Now back to the Lebanon front: Hezbollah has clearly tried to avoid a full-scale war in more than eight months of conflict. Despite numerous chances to escalate, the group stuck to low-intensity warfare and limited attacks on northern Israel. However, these cautious calculations may be changing.

Hezbollah is incurring mounting costs in this ongoing conflict. It lost close to 400 operatives, including its most senior commanders in southern Lebanon. IDF strikes have also destroyed extensive terror infrastructure in Lebanon while causing vast damage in Shiite towns, Hezbollah’s power base.

With no end in sight to this increasingly costly and pointless conflict, Hezbollah may decide to reshuffle the deck by launching a surprise assault. This could break the current equation, enabling Hezbollah to boast new achievements before quickly agreeing to a ceasefire deal.  

A Hezbollah attack will be even likelier if it becomes convinced that Israel is about to launch its own preemptive assault. In that case, Hezbollah chief Nasrallah may decide to order the first strike.

Notably, a surprise assault on Israel would be a risky move that carries a heavy price tag for both Hezbollah and Lebanon. Thus, Nasrallah may choose to maintain the current posture of limited combat for as long as he can. In any case, Israel’s intelligence arms should be careful not to fall into a dangerous trap.