Israeli minister calls for Lebanon 'invasion' but is that possible?


Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has said the Israeli military should invade Lebanon and push "hundreds of thousands of Lebanese" away from the border area.

Hezbollah has traded regular cross-border fire with Israel since the Gaza war began almost eight months ago, but clashes have intensified in recent days.

Smotrich said Monday that Israel must establish a "security strip" in southern Lebanon -- as it had maintained for 15 years before withdrawing troops in 2000.

He said Israel must launch "a ground invasion", occupy territory, and distance Hezbollah "and hundreds of thousands of Lebanese among whom Hezbollah hides to the other side of the Litani river", some 30 kilometres away from the U.N.-patrolled border.

Simmering tensions with Iran-backed Hezbollah along Israel's northern border with Lebanon also have analysts wondering if a full-scale war could be imminent.

Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi told troops stationed on the northern border last month that the military was preparing for an "offensive" there.

Shlomo Brom, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, said: "It's a possibility that ground troops will enter Lebanon and try to create a kind of security zone that at least will push away the Hezbollah fighters."

Israel's army has carried out nearly 4,900 attacks in southern Lebanon since October 7, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

ACLED said Hezbollah has launched about 1,100 attacks on Israeli positions in north Israel and in Israeli-occupied Lebanese and Syrian territories.

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