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Israeli Reserve Colonel: 'There's Gonna Be War in the North'

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KIRYAT SHMONA, northern Israel – While the U.S. and Israel negotiate an end to the war in Gaza, missiles are still flying on the northern border with Hezbollah. Many in this part of the world believe a larger war there is just a matter of time.

Recently, a Hezbollah rocket hit the building where Valentina and Valeri Shevzov live in Kiryat Shmona.  

"The home went like this, yes?" Valentina said, making a shaking motion.

"We heard a loud explosion," Valeri added, "but we didn't expect it to be in our building."

The city's mayor, Avichai Stern, explained that while the rockets are manufactured in Lebanon, the technology is Iranian.

"We have 22 hits, direct hits of residential buildings, and peripheral damage is even bigger," Stern stated.  "We have four kindergartens, three daycare centers, and two schools that were hit."

Kiryat Shmona is about six miles away from the Lebanese border. Most of the residents have evacuated. They're some of the more than 80,000 Israelis who have evacuated along the length of the northern border.

Overlooking the Syrian border near Lebanon, Reserve Israeli Defense Forces Col. Marco Moreno tried to give Americans an idea of the threat to Israel.

"Imagine Florida. You will accept (that) 80,000 people will go because – I don't know – Mexico is shooting on you, or Cuba. Which country would accept that? he asked.
Col. Moreno believes war with Hezbollah is the only way out of a situation Israel can't endure.

"My suggestion – strategic, like in strategic level – we don't care what they think. We don't care how they think. We need to do the job. It's our interest as a country," Moreno told a group of reporters. "Guys, listen, it's crazy. Think about it. 80,000 people evacuated from their homes in the north," he added.

Moreno calls it a fight for Israel's survival.

"This is the Independence War (of 1948). If we don't do it right, we are lost," he insisted. "All the neighbors are looking at us, all the Muslims – we'll see how the Israelis will react. If we don't say let's go crazy for us, it's done for us."   

Meanwhile, the rumbling of war continues between Israel and Hezbollah. U.S. mediators such as Amos Hochstein are seeking a diplomatic solution by trying to convince Hezbollah to pull its forces away from the border.

Despite these efforts, Moreno still sees war as inevitable.

"The war will kickstart in the north," he cautioned. "Don't let anyone tell you stories. There's gonna be a war in the north. It will happen, I give you the signs for it."

Moreno continued," Once you see the volume is down in Rafah, in Gaza – when you see the volume is down, meaning the army is not, you know, very busy there, which means it's going up – all the good troops that (are) now deployed in Gaza will go up (to the northern border)."

Moreno adds that resupplying weaponry and the weather are also important factors.

"In the meanwhile, we are getting from our American brothers all we need for the Iron Dome and for (the) Air Force, and probably then the weather will be better because of the tanks – and I'm assuming around May, maybe after Passover."

As for the many empty homes in Kiryat Shmona, only about three thousand people remain, including Yehuda Albilya, a local resident.

"There's no other option, I need to work, I need to make a living, Albilya said. "No one else will come here and work instead of us. It doesn't mean that if (Hezbollah Sheik) Nasrallah shells us, we shouldn't stop working. This is the situation here at the moment, and, God willing, I hope all residents will come back here."

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