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Hezbollah Action on Israel's Northern Border 'Reflects Preparations for an Invasion'

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JERUSALEM, Israel – As Israel enters its 17th day at war with Hamas, it's dealing with a number of fronts: on the southern border with Gaza, the northern border with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and in the West Bank (biblical Judea and Samaria).

In Gaza, the Israeli military continues to pound targets as a prelude to a likely ground invasion.

In the West Bank, the Israeli Defense Forces (I.D.F.) has arrested dozens of suspected Hamas terrorists, and hit a mosque used as a weapons depot, stopping an imminent terror attack.   

Dozens of communities in both the north and south are being evacuated, with more than 120,000 Israelis now living away from their homes. 

On the northern border, Israel and Hezbollah are trading rockets, anti-tank rounds, and artillery. The front with Hezbollah may well represent Israel's greatest challenge.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign minister warned that a regional war could break out if Israel continues striking Gaza, a veiled threat that Hezbollah would join the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then warned Hezbollah.

“If Hezbollah decides to enter the war, it will make the mistake of its life," Netanyahu cautioned. "We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the meaning for Hezbollah and for the state of Lebanon will be devastating. – but we are prepared for any scenario."

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In the community of Shtula, just a few yards from the Lebanese border, nearly 90 percent of the town has been evacuated since the war broke out. A Hezbollah tower stands less than 300 yards from Shtula. Hezbollah has set up approximately 50 such towers all along the border.

The towers are just one part of the Iranian-backed terror group's plan to attack Israel, and for days, Hezbollah has been increasing its attacks. 

At the scene of one of the rocket attacks fired from a nearby hill a mile away from Shtula, it landed in a street, killing one Israeli Arab and injuring three others.

CBN News talked with the I.D.F. commander of the area, Lt. Col (Reserve) Dotan Razili, who said Israel is ready.

“We called all our reservists—on most of the reservists,' Razili said. "We had a set plan to defend the northern part of Israel. We were able to bring them here, prepare them, put them in the places that we planned ahead, which I cannot elaborate, but (we) are prepared.”

Retired Lt. Col. Sarit Zehavi, a resident of the north, has studied Hezbollah's strategy for years. She sees Hezbollah using a carbon copy of Hamas's plans in Gaza. 

“Hezbollah published (a) similar offensive plan a decade ago with the same details, just as it happened in the South, she told us. “We understand that Hezbollah is preparing to execute the same plan in the north.”

Despite massive U.S. deployment in the region and Israeli forces on the border, Zehavi believes Iran is moving forward with their plan.   

“I cannot say that they are deterred, because what I see that is happening here on the border every day does not reflect any deterrence," she explained. It reflects preparations for invasion.” 

Zehavi added, “This means preparation for invasion of thousands of Hezbollah. The same is what you saw in in the south, except Hezbollah is bigger and the firepower of Hezbollah is ten times more than Hamas. It's about 200,000 different kind of rockets and artillery.”

We told her that many people were asking whether Hezbollah will join the war and asked for her response.

Zehavi responded, " I believe that everything is working – and until now – according to the Iranian plan.”

When asked how closely tied the regime in Iran is with Hezbollah and Hamas and all the chaos in the region, she answered, "I don't accept the statements that Iran didn't know or Hezbollah didn't know – that Iran just provided the money. We shouldn't say that Iran is not involved. The Iranian foreign minister is personally involved in all the plans that were executed before and after. We have seen the meetings. And this is what I understand for all these meetings: the Iranians knew exactly what is going to happen.”

Sivan Yechieli leads a northern border response team. He said the border towns in his region acted as soon as the news broke about the Hamas massacres more than two weeks ago.

“I think the response is immediately, to make sure that you're protected and your communities are protected, and that the you know, at the end of the day, we're fighting for our lives.”

Yechieli asked what people in other countries would do if they had Hezbollah as a neighbor. 

 “The mere fact that we have to live under those-- that kind of threat is is appalling," he stated, "This is something that should not happen. We should be in a position when someone holds a gun and he puts it in front of your head, you're not going to ask him, 'Do you mean to shoot me? Don't you mean to (do) that? Your intentions. When are you going to shoot me?' You have to take action in order to make sure that no one standing over there with a gun pointed to your head.  And that's, I think, something that the Israeli government should do.”

 Zehavi concluded, "I must say something here to the people who are listening to me: (as) opposed to Americans, we don't have a choice. I mean, we cannot leave Iraq by a decision, or Afghanistan or Vietnam, because Lebanon is here – 12 kilometers from where we are. So we don't have a choice. We cannot accept the option of living with the monster, neither in the north nor in the south, because you must understand that once they finish with us, they will come to you.”

Razili believes Israel is the western world's tip of the spear. 

“Israel has always been on the front of the Western world against Islamic and ISIS kind(s) of operations. We saw it two weeks ago (with the Hamas atrocities near Gaza) and we will defend ourselves. And by that, defend the world.”

 “What can I say?" Zehavi asked. " Pray for us.” 

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