“The answer is on the way. The decision has already been made. Now it depends on what happens on the ground and on Allah.” With these words, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, Hassan Nasrallah, confirmed this Friday the willingness to respond to the murder of what he called “brother, friend and ally, the martyr Saleh al-Arouri.” This Palestinian, number two in Hamas and an important figure in its armed wing, was murdered last Tuesday in a selective Israeli attack in the Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut. And “the first response” – according to the Hezbollah statement – came early in the morning this Saturday morning with dozens of shots fired at the Meron area, in the Israeli Upper Galilee. “As part of the first response to the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, we launched 62 projectiles of various types,” said the pro-Iran group, explaining that the target was a military surveillance and Intelligence base in Meron. Hezbollah highlighted the importance of the strategic military installation located on the top of the “highest mountain in occupied Palestine.” The attack included the firing of an anti-tank missile against the Israeli border area of ​​Metula. “The Army has reached a terrorist cell that participated in this morning’s shooting from Lebanon,” the Israeli military spokesman said. Hours later, a helicopter shot down an infiltrated drone from Lebanon while several fighter jets expanded their attacks to more than 35 kilometers from the border, including a surface-to-air missile base. Of the more than 60 projectiles fired in the first burst, more than 40 crossed the border heading to the Meron area, causing the activation of sirens in dozens of Israeli towns. The vast majority hit open areas or were intercepted by Israel’s defense systems, which responded by attacking Hizbullah targets in southern Lebanon. “We cannot remain silent in the face of a violation of this magnitude because it would mean that all of Lebanon would be exposed ( to similar attacks),” Nasrallah declared in his second speech after the assassination of Arouri and other Hamas officials in Lebanon last Tuesday. Although Israel did not officially confirm or deny the attack carried out with a drone, it is part of its announced campaign to eliminate the leaders and high command of the Palestinian fundamentalist group after its attack on October 7 that unleashed the massive military offensive in the Gaza Strip in a war that this Saturday reaches its 92 days. The range and quantity of Hezbollah’s projectiles this Saturday are greater than those it has used since the beginning of the war against Israel. On October 8, the pro-Iranian group began its attacks as a show of “support for Hamas and Gaza” and to “wear down the Army,” in the words of Nasrallah, who this Friday revealed that his troops carried out “670 operations destroying a large number of vehicles.” , tanks, technical equipment and Israeli Intelligence collection”.

Despite their greater intensity, the attacks by Hizbullah and Israel this Saturday do not leave the framework of the dynamics opened with the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah promises to continue the response to Arouri’s assassination and his attacks to wear down the Israeli Army for the duration of the war with Hamas but without crossing the red line that leads to war. The armed wing of the Nasrallah group announced the death of 153 troops since the start of the skirmishes on October 8. The Hezbollah attacks have a forceful response from the Israeli Air Force, which takes advantage of the front opened by Nasrallah to hit and drive away Hezbollah’s Radwan Unit from the Israeli-Lebanese border and demand the withdrawal of the militia north of the Litani River as established by resolution 1701 approved by the UN Security Council after the 2006 war.

“There are two alternatives here: one, the diplomatic option, which we are actively working on. Yesterday I met with the special envoy of the president of the United States, Amos Hochstein. We will soon meet with the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to discuss these options and see if we can reach agreements that allow the safe return of northern residents to their homes,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said this Friday, alluding to the tens of thousands of its inhabitants who continue to be evacuated to other parts of Israel.Gallant reiterated the warning that his Army is prepared in case the first option fails. “I want to say it clearly: we prefer the path of a diplomatic negotiation for an agreement reached by consensus. However, we are approaching the point where the hourglass is about to turn,” declared Gallant who warned a few days ago: ” “The terrorist group will make a big mistake if it continues to prefer to defend its patron Iran and Hamas instead of thinking about the good of Lebanon.”

In this sense, Nasrallah sent a message to the internally displaced in northern Israel: “If your country makes the mistake of carrying out a war with Lebanon, you will be the first to pay the price. The solution is to ask your government to stop your aggression against Gaza.”

The US has multiplied its efforts so that the confrontation between Israel and Hamas does not extend into a war with more fronts in the region. The one in the Israeli north and Lebanese south is the hottest.