Hikers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights found at least 5 armed and unguarded Merkava Mk. IV battle tanks.
The doors of the battle tanks were open with equipment and munitions left completely unguarded inside. The incident took place amid the growing tensions between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces in both the Golan Heights area and along the Israeli-Lebanese contact line.
During the past weeks, the Israeli military was actively deploying troops and equipment to reinforce their positions in these areas. It is highly likely that the abandoned battle tanks were a part of these reinforcements. So, if Israeli sources do not know how to explain this failure, they can easily blame Hezbollah.
Indeed, Israel is already taking steps to do this. On August 29, the Lebanese group’s Central Media released a video of the incident that took place about a week ago. The video showed a dummy soldier moving amid a cloud of thick smoke on the Israeli-Lebanese separation line. Two Merkava IV battle tanks of the IDF were guarding the “robot soldier.” The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) often use such “dummy targets” in an attempt to trick Hezbollah in times of tensions.
On August 26, IDF aircraft carried out several airstrikes on what it called “observation posts” of Hezbollah near the contact line in southern Lebanon. The IDF said the strikes were a response to a security incident, in which shots were fired at an Israeli force operating near the town of al-Manar. The incident, which took place at 22:40 on August 25, resulted in no casualties, according to the IDF’s statement.
“The IDF considers the Lebanese government responsible for what happens from its territory,” Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the IDF, said, adding: “We view the incident with extreme seriousness, like every attempt to violate the sovereignty of the State of Israel, and our forces will remain in a state of great readiness to preserve the sovereignty of Israel and the security of the population as needed.”
Thus, the IDF reinforced its threats to carry out strikes on Lebanon in response to any attack or provocation from this direction. Apparently, the IDF sees the possible strikes on “dummy soldiers” intentionally put in danger areas on the contact line with Lebanon as one of such attacks. Lebanese sources claim that the IDF is intentionally seeking a pretext for military actions against Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah vowed that Hezbollah will kill an Israeli soldier every time the Israeli military kills one of his group’s fighters.
The Lebanese leader made the new threat in a televised speech commemorating the 10th of Muharram, a holy Islamic day highly admired by Shiites, on August 30. The Hezbollah-Israeli tensions seem to be ready to explode with an open military confrontation at any moment.