According to an article published by Walla News, an elite unit of Hezbollah naval assets crossed the Lebanese-Palestinian border at Naqoura, and its divers descended into Israeli-occupied waters.
The divers were tasked with testing Israel’s underwater sensor technology, monitoring the Israeli Navy’s response time between identifying foreign elements and dealing with them.
The result was that the Israeli Navy failed to counter the incursion in time.
Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party and is classified by the United States as a terrorist organization as it has an armed branch called Jihad Council. Hezbollah has an arsenal of surface-to-sea guided missiles. The outfit established an amphibious warfare wing in the 1990s, which trains in Lebanon and Iran. Not much is known about it.
Another maritime incident took place later that year when the Israeli army reported that Hezbollah had taken control of a buoy placed on Line 1, set by ‘Israel’ as “its maritime border with Lebanon”.
Lebanon considers the buoys placed to mark Line 1 illegal and a violation of its sovereignty in Lebanese territorial waters.
Line 1 has never been recognized by Lebanon as delimiting its maritime border with occupied Palestine. It had been drawn up during the government of Fouad Siniora in 2007 but was never ratified by the Lebanese Parliament. Since then, there have been two lines of maritime borders: line 23 and line 29. The latter is defended by the Lebanese army and gives 1400 square kilometres more to Lebanon compared to line 23.
As per the experts in the region, Hezbollah has a variety of capabilities that allow it to reach Israel’s shores. They say that Hezbollah may have small Iranian-made submarines for transporting fighters who are trained in the use of advanced diving equipment and have the capability to conduct raids and seize naval targets, use explosive devices and lay mines.
According to Walla News, Hezbollah has acquired the ability to strike static, stationary and moving targets at sea. The dispute has been exacerbated these days since an Energean gas drilling platform took place in preparation for the gas extraction operation.
A member of the political council of Hezbollah, M. Kamati, said that he would not allow Israel to extract natural gas in the disputed territory. He signalled that Hezbollah was ready to use force to prevent the Israelis from extracting gas in the area.
The Israeli Navy is preparing for a possible Hezbollah attack on the ship, Israeli public broadcaster Kan News reported. According to the broadcaster, the area will be guarded by Israeli missile defense systems, ships and submarines.
The threat is not just near the coast. Israeli Defense Forces have near-zero naval capability outside of its own core operating areas near the coast of Israel, the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, in areas dominated by Iran or where it can easily deploy fast combat platforms. Israel is vulnerable to attacks by Iranian drones, naval mines, and other weapon systems. Iran is a supporter of Hezbollah, which is a component of Iran’s so-called Shadow war against Israel.
The Israeli media specifies that Hezbollah officially exploits the Iranian Noor, a variant of the Chinese anti-ship missile C-802 and the Russian supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles P-800 Oniks (Yakhont); thanks to the stocks of the Syrian army.