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Iran is likely to turn to fundamentalist partners in the Middle East to strike Israel rather than engage in direct conflict, a Middle East security expert has warned.
Iran has repeatedly warned Israel that an attack is “possible” as it defended the heinous attack Hamas forces waged on civilian targets on October 7.
And as Israel continues to launch air raids in Gaza after cutting off water supplies and electricity, Iran’s rhetoric has become more incensed.
Dr. Tobias Borck told Daily Express US that the rogue nation will likely seek to avoid a direct confrontation with Israel and will instead rely on “non-state partners” to strike military and civilian targets.
Dr. Borck noted Iran has been able to rely on several fundamentalist organizations in the Middle East – with Hezbollah tipped to be the leading player in its conflict with Israel.
He noted a full-on war is “quite far out” for the moment: “What is a much more realistic threat is that some of these partners of Iran might enter the conflict in a more substantial way than they already have.”
Hezbollah has already become involved in the ongoing deadly skirmish between Israel and Hamas, with its fighters shooting at Israel Defense Forces from neighbouring Lebanon.
The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) expert argued the militant group is the most likely candidate for three main reasons.
Dr. Borck continued: “One is proximity, it is there and it has as its raison d’être resistance to Israel.
“It’s not the same as the other groups – the Houthis, they also shout death to Israel but their number one political ideology, self-legitimacy is about Yemen, not Israel whereas Hezbollah has proximity and focus on Israel.”
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He added: “The second point is that it is the most capable of all of these actors. It has the most substantive arsenal of weaponry, it is believed to be the most well-versed in fighting an opponent like Israel.
“And the third one is that it’s also probably the actor with the closest political relationship to Iran.”
Hezbollah said Monday it has started destroying surveillance cameras on several Israeli army posts along the border as tension rose following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
The militant group appears to want to prevent the Israeli army from monitoring movements on the Lebanese side of the border after days of fire exchange that left at least seven people dead, including four Hezbollah fighters, on the Lebanese side.
Since the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian militant Hamas group on southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and troops, tension has been on the rise along the Lebanon-Israel border.
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Hezbollah fighters fired anti-tank missiles on Israeli army positions and Israeli troops shelled border areas on the Lebanese side of the border.
Following last week’s attack, President Joe Biden warned other players in the Middle East not to join the conflict and has sent American warships to the region and vowed full support for Israel.
Earlier Monday, the Israeli military ordered people living in 28 communities near the Lebanese border to evacuate.
The military order affects communities that are within 1.2 miles of the border.
Hezbollah has said the increased strikes were a warning and don’t mean the group has decided to go to war.
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