Mideast War: Lebanon Takes Center Stage As IDF Looks North

Israel shifts focus to Lebanon (iStock.com/Romanista)

Signs indicate a looming military clash between Israel and Hezbollah as both sides move closer to a wider conflict. The IDF is amassing troops in the northern sector, while authorities are preparing for severe war scenarios behind closed doors.

Intelligence expert Danny Citrinowicz warns that the risk of military escalation is extremely high. The former high-ranking IDF officer wrote that Hezbollah attacks on Israel will persist while the Gaza war continues, and that prospects for a diplomatic resolution are dim. A broader conflict appears almost inevitable as both sides escalate their strikes, he said.

The IDF is now striking deeper in Lebanon and bombing high-value Hezbollah assets. The latest airstrikes targeted large weapons depots near Sidon, resulting in massive blasts and extensive damage, and prompting threats of revenge.

As tensions grow, Defense Minister Gallant recently led an exercise with senior officials to prepare for a large-scale fight on multiple fronts. With war on the horizon, he also instructed the IDF to launch a media campaign aimed at preparing Israelis for the possibility of a major conflict.

The project will aim to educate the public on emergency and protective measures in the event of a large assault on Israel’s home front.

The head of the National Emergency Authority confirmed reports on potential contingencies, warning of prolonged blackouts that could affect up to 50% of the population in the event of a full-scale war. Earlier, hospitals were directed to ready themselves for mass casualties and emergency operations.

IDF prepares for war

In parallel, the IDF’s focus on the northern front continues to intensify. The army deployed the Golani Brigade along the Lebanon border to replace reserve forces and gain experience in potential skirmishes with Hezbollah. Notably, Golani serves under the IDF’s 36th Division, which redeployed to the Lebanon border after exiting Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Golani reconnaissance unit carried out extensive training exercises in northern Israel. The elite force simulated raids into Lebanese territory while honing skills tailored to the distinct challenges posed by Hezbollah’s deployment, such as longer range sharpshooting.

IDF prepares for Lebanon war (Archive: IDF/CC BY-NC 2.0)

In addition, IDF armored, engineering, and artillery forces conducted military exercises in the north, preparing for combat in mountainous and open terrain under challenging weather conditions.

Golani’s recon forces are poised to lead any incursions into Lebanon, Ynet reported. The unit will soon be equipped with new missiles, advanced intel-gathering gear, and additional drones, while bolstering its suicide drone capabilities.

Ballistic missiles from Iran?

Simultaneously, the Air Force stands ready for high-intensity operations in Lebanese airspace, with plans to mobilize hundreds of war planes swiftly in the event of a conflict with Hezbollah.

Israel’s Air Force chief recently said that dozens of aircraft are already operating in Lebanon, and that the number could rapidly increase. According to previous reports, the IDF set aside large resources and dedicated significant air power to a potential war in the north.  

Defensive measures are also being reinforced, with Israel’s multi-layered air defense systems prepared to counter diverse missile threats. Senior IDF engineers assert that Iron Dome, supplemented by the David’s Sling and Arrow missile defense systems, can effectively cope with thousands of Hezbollah rockets per day.

Iron Dome was upgraded during the war and achieved a success rate exceeding 90% so far, one engineer told N12 News. Israel is also readying for a ballistic missile assault on Tel Aviv from Iran in the event of a broader regional war, the report said. Local military industries are ramping up production of defense systems, while the IDF is bolstering air defense teams to confront threats from multiple fronts.