A senior IDF source has revealed grim predictions concerning the threats facing Israel along its northern border.
The IDF currently estimates that the likelihood of a war occurring in the next year is low, not due to a lack of motivation but because Israel's enemies are for the most part engaged in bloody conflicts elsewhere.
However, the army also predicts that the next round of fighting with Hezbollah in Lebanon – and potentially in Syria as well – will be far bloodier and more drawn out than previous wars with the Shia terrorist group.
In a meeting with Israeli military correspondents, the senior source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the likelihood of all out war was slim, a major attack could easily escalate into something far bigger. Terrorists positioned along Israel's northern border would attempt shooting and bombing attacks against IDF soldiers in the near future, he estimated.
Such an incident could well trigger a war with Hezbollah, he added – one far more serious than the Second Lebanon War. The official said that a future war with Hezbollah would likely see Israeli airplanes shot down, cause Ben Gurion International Airport to close and result in a large number of IDF soldiers taken captive.
Hezbollah now controls hundreds of Shia villages in southern Lebanon, as well as key positions in southern Syria, and has converted them into terrorist positions.
The Iranian-sponsored terror group is heavily mired in conflicts in Syria and Iraq – roughly 7,000 Hezbollah fighters are currently deployed in Syria along, where the group has suffered significant casualties of some 1,300 killed and 10,000 injured. Additionally, it is reportedly struggling to pay for its costly engagements – although that financial difficulty will likely be eased by the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
However, the source warned that Hezbollah's long-term military preparations are all aimed southward towards Israel.
To Israel's south, Hamas is not interested in an escalation with Israel at this moment, the source said. However, the terrorist organization is working feverishly to rebuild and hone its rocket arsenal, as well as rebuilding its terror tunnel network.
After a period of conflict with Tehran, Hamas's Gazan leadership has firmly realigned itself with Iran, which has resumed funding and weapons transfers to the terror group. This is in stark contrast to Hamas's "political" leadership, headed by Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal, who has aligned himself to Iran's arch-rivals Saudi Arabia.
Ari Soffer contributed to this report.