Hezbollah to consider ‘range’ of responses to Israeli attacks in Lebanon: US intel

Hezbollah maintains capability to target Americans and American interests in the region, worldwide, “and, to a lesser extent, in the United States,” according to assessment

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah is likely to consider different responses to Israel’s “actions” in Lebanon during the rest of the year, according to a US intelligence report released on Monday.

Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in cross-border attacks since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The Iran-backed group said it would stop attacking Israel if a ceasefire in Gaza were reached.

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The US quickly dissuaded the Israelis from launching preemptive strikes against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon after convincing the Netanyahu government that US intel showed no signs that Hezbollah was planning to invade or conduct large-scale attacks.

At least 200 Hezbollah militants have been killed by Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, as well as dozens of Lebanese civilians. Israel has remained tightlipped about how many Israeli army members have been killed by Hezbollah strikes.

Hezbollah attacks on Israel along the Blue Line will “probably” continue, such as rocket launches, throughout the Gaza conflict, the US intel community said.

But Hezbollah is calibrating pressure on Israel while trying to avoid a broader war that would devastate the group and Lebanon, the US Intelligence Community’s 2024 Annual Threat Assessment said.

“Hezbollah’s leadership, though, probably will consider a range of retaliatory options depending on Israel’s actions in Lebanon during the upcoming year,” the intel community assessed.

The top US military general spoke to the commander of Lebanon’s Army last week about the current security situation in the Middle East and efforts to de-escalate tensions.

Separately, the threat assessment predicted that Hezbollah would continue to develop its “global terrorist capabilities as a complement” to the group’s conventional military capabilities in the region.

Washington designated Hezbollah as a terror group in 1997. The group’s Islamic Jihad Organization was behind one of the deadliest overseas attacks on US troops ever in the 80s.

Hezbollah also continues to seek to limit US influence in Lebanon and the Middle East, and it maintains the capability to target Americans and American interests in the region, worldwide, “and, to a lesser extent, in the United States,” according to the report.

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