“Anyone who crosses into Israel will not return [alive] to Lebanon,” the IDF senior officer told journalists on the Lebanese border on Wednesday, stressing, “in the next war Hezbollah’s Radwan unit will be eliminated.”
The border fence with Lebanon was originally built in the 1980s, and while sections of it have been upgraded several times, it is said to be in poor condition.
According to a senior officer in the Northern Command, the current fence will not stop an infiltration by Hezbollah’s elite Radwan unit, which is expected to attempt to capture an Israeli community or military outpost in the next war.
Due to the threat of infiltrations by Hezbollah, 22 Israeli communities along the border with Lebanon will be evacuated.
“We would want to carry out the evacuations as soon as possible,” the officer said. “It will take several days and will not be simple.”
Israel has never carried out a mandatory evacuation of any community since the founding of the state.
The new barrier’s construction began several months ago and is expected to cost NIS 1.7 billion.
Construction in the areas of the Sulam Ridge, Metulla and Misgav Am to the south and east of the UN-designated Blue Line are ongoing by the engineering forces of the Northern Command and the 91st Division, together with the “Gvulot VeTefar” administration.
The construction is expected to be completed in the coming months.
The project takes place entirely in Israeli territory, and is fully coordinated with UNIFIL.
“This is a planned operation designed to maintain long-term stability on the frontier and is fully coordinated with UNIFIL forces,” the IDF said. “The interest in maintaining relative stability is clear, and there is no reason that it should be affected by construction work.”
Similar to the “smart fence” which runs along Israel’s border with Gaza and Egypt and some 30 km. along the border with Jordan, the concrete, steel and barbed wire fence will be nine meters high, stretching for several kilometers, with sensors, cameras, information collection centers and warning systems.
The cameras along the fence are connected to a war room to alert troops of any possible infiltration. It will also have lifting devices for the safe and secure maintenance of the cameras to prevent any possible firing towards IDF troops.
According to the IDF, Israel’s intelligence capabilities have increased dramatically since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and now has five times the number of targets in the north if another war were to break out.
The IDF has carried out several large-scale drills simulating war with the Lebanese terror group in the past year, including one by the Paratroopers brigade which finished on Thursday. It was the fourth combined brigade exercise which took place in the past month as part of the IDF’s training exercises to improve troop preparedness.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told members of the security cabinet and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this week that the military is ready for war under any scenario.
“The IDF is at a high-level of preparedness and readiness for war with regard to any threat scenario,” Eisenkot wrote, adding that “as the person responsible for the army’s readiness for war, I declare that IDF is prepared for any mission required of it.”