After responding to the attack with artillery shelling and air strikes on five Hizbullah targets, Israel Air Force planes dropped hundreds of Arabic-language leaflets over Lebanese villages before dawn. The literature advised residents that “Hizbullah serves foreign interests and acts with the intention of dragging Israel to respond in a way that would justify its terrorist existence.”
The pamphlets asked people not to cooperate with Hizbullah terrorists, and added that Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the escalation along the border.
The Arabic Al-Jazeera website reported that villagers saw the leaflets as a warning that Israel will stage a wider and stronger military response if the Beirut government does not clamp down on Hizbullah terrorists.
Wednesday’s attack on IDF positions was the first in more than a month along the border. Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, head of the Northern Command, warned earlier this year that Hizbullah would continue to try to draw Israel into a military escalation in the north, as the date nears for the planned expulsion of Jewish residents in northern Samaria and Gaza.
Hizbullah is also interested in preventing a situation of calm on the northern border, according to Mordechai Keidar, a lecturer of Arabic and Islamic Culture Studies at Bar Ilan University. Keidar says that Hizbullah thus wants to fight Lebanon’s anti-Syrian camp.
The Foreign Ministry said it would file a protest with the United Nations over the attacks.