Following the end of a 60-hour combat exercise conducted by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on 16 February, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, warned Israel against its methods of intimidation. Nasrallah announced that although they refrain from confrontation, they will not leave the blood of their martyrs behind. If Israel enters into confrontation and attacks our cities, we will respond by attacking theirs, said the Hezbollah chief.
Between 14 and 16 February, the IAF conducted exercises under the name of ‘Galilee Rose’ which has involved 85 percent of pilots, technicians and reserve personnel in the force. The ‘Galilee Rose’ exercise was conducted with the hypothetical of a Hezbollah attack on IAF fighters and air defense training, which also focused on coordinated retaliations towards key Lebanese targets, such as airports, bridges and power plants in 24-hour timeframe.
Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel date back to 2006, when Hezbollah and Israeli forces fought against each other in a war which lasted for a month. The 2006 Lebanon War concluded in a stalemate, which resulted in a ceasefire agreed upon under UN Security Council Resolution 1701. While Hezbollah had claimed the one-month conflict to be a ‘divine victory’, the ceasefire resulted in major resignations within the Israeli Defense Force.
Since the war in 2006, Hezbollah has undergone significant military developments with contributions from Iran, which it considers as its ally.