Exercise reportedly saw Hezbollah forces jumping through flaming hoops, firing from the backs of motorcycles, blowing up Israeli flags and jumping over a wall representing the Israel-Lebanon border.
By United with Israel staff
The Hezbollah terrorist group extended a rare invitation to journalists on Sunday, allowing them into a southern Lebanon military base to observe Hezbollah training exercises, Associated Press reported.
The Hezbollah forces could be seen jumping through flaming hoops, firing from the backs of motorcycles, blowing up Israeli flags and jumping over a wall representing the Israel-Lebanon border, according to AP.
The exercise may have been tied to “Liberation Day,” celebrating the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon on May 25, 2000.
The IDF declined to comment on the exercise, AP said.
Hashem Safieddin, a senior Hezbollah official, said the exercise was meant “confirm our complete readiness to confront any [Israeli] aggression.” He also made reference to Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles, which he said Israel would see “later.”
Elias Farhat, a retired Lebanese army general, told AP the exercise was a “symbolic show of strength,” apparently in response to the recent escalation in Gaza.
Mohanad Hage Ali, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center who researches Hezbollah, told AP the exercise was lower risk way to show force than firing rockets.
While “showing how strong they are and sending a message to the Israelis, it also demonstrates that this time around, they don’t want to escalate,” he said.
Though Israel regularly reportedly strikes Hezbollah and Iran-affiliated targets in neighboring Syria, it last month carried out rarer strikes in southern Lebanon, after terrorists fired almost three dozens rockets from there at Israel, wounding two people and causing property damage.
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