Elite Hezbollah Commander Killed in Lebanon

Latest Developments

An airstrike killed a prominent Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon, the terrorist group said on January 8. Hezbollah identified the commander as Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s Radwan Force, an elite unit focused on cross-border attacks. Tawil and another member of Hezbollah were reportedly killed when an airstrike hit their car in Majdal Selm, a village near the Israeli border. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had carried out “a series of strikes” against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon but did not comment on Tawil’s death.

Expert Analysis

“The Radwan Force is the most immediate threat to Israel from Hezbollah right now. This targeted strike appears to be the most significant one scored by Israel against the Iran-backed group since it began attacking Israel on October 8. The question now is whether such strikes deter Hezbollah or if they increase the likelihood of escalation. Either way, Israel has little choice but to respond.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Hezbollah will likely attempt to draw Israeli blood to avenge its Radwan Force’s fallen commander Wisam al-Tawil. While the group will not initiate war to settle this score with the Israelis, its presence along the Lebanon-Israel border and its ability to strike — at will and with impunity — inside Israeli territory is a testament to the developed threat the group poses to Israeli security. It also is a testament to Lebanon’s flagrant dereliction, going on almost two decades, in imposing its sovereignty and sole control over its territory.” — David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

Ongoing Hezbollah Provocations

Hezbollah intensified attacks on Israel after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, causing at least 80,000 Israelis to evacuate northern Israel. Hezbollah further escalated its provocations along the Israel-Lebanon border on January 6, launching dozens of rockets and guided missiles at an Israeli radar base in Meron. On January 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised statement that securing Israel’s northern border is “a national goal that we all share.” War cabinet minister Benny Gantz, a long-time political rival of Netanyahu, maintained that the entire Israeli government is committed to returning northern residents to their homes, safe from any threats.

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