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F. Michael Maloof

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jAN. 19, 2015

WASHINGTON – Lebanon is bracing for an attack from Israel if the Iranian-backed Hezbollah retaliates for an Israeli military helicopter strike last week on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

The attack killed five Hezbollah fighters, including Jihad Imad Muganiyeh, 25, the son of Imad Muganiyeh, a top Hezbollah commander who was killed reportedly by Israelis in Syria in 2008.

There’s “lots of security and uniformed guys talking into their radios,” one resident in south Beirut – the Hezbollah stronghold – told WND.

Jihad Imad Muganiyeh, 25, son of the late top Hezbollah military commander Imad Muganiyeh

He said that one family he knows is “expecting the worst” and has moved his family to the mountains.

“People seem understandably nervous and some fear a repeat of July 2006, or worse,” he said.

The source added that if “things get crazy, I’m heading to the American University of Beirut,” which is far from the Hezbollah area of the city, near the U.S. Embassy.

In July 2006, Hezbollah and Israel waged a 34-day war that resulted in Israeli forces finally withdrawing from Lebanon but not before considerable damage had been caused the country.

The free WND special report “ISIS Rising,” by Middle East expert and former Department of Defense analyst Michael Maloof, will answer your questions about the jihadist army threatening the West.

Since then, Iran has virtually rebuilt southern Lebanon as well as the Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah already has indicated that his resistance group will retaliate for the death of Mughniyeh, 25, and the five Hezbollah fighters.

Now, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reports that a sixth person was killed, Gen. Muhammad Ali Allahdadi.

Israel claims the Hezbollah team with the IRGC general was planning an attack on the Israeli portion of the Golan.

However, Hezbollah fighters have been in the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights fighting elements of the Sunni Jabhat al-Nusra Front and other jihadist groups that recently have sworn allegiance to ISIS.

Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to defend the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Shiite-Alawite who is allied with Shiite Iran.

The Syrian portion of the Golan is one of the three areas from which ISIS could launch attacks into Lebanon, along with northern Lebanon and the predominantly Sunni area of Saida, or Sidon, south of Beirut.

In addition to a possible Israeli attack, the Lebanese are bracing for potential attacks from ISIS and the al-Qaida affiliate, al-Nusra, possibly in the spring.

Nasrallah has warned Israel that if it attacks Lebanon, the “Islamic Resistance” – Hezbollah – is ready to invade Galilee and the Israeli settlements that lie beyond Galilee.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Mayadeen TV in Beirut, Nasrallah said Hezbollah won’t resort only to missiles to defend Lebanon but is prepared to send its fighters into Galilee.

“When the resistance leadership … asks you (fighters) … to enter into Galilee, that means the resistance must be ready to enter into Galilee and to go even beyond the Galilee,” Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah said that despite Hezbollah’s preoccupations, it has sufficient military power to confront Israel.

He acknowledged for the first time that Hezbollah has acquired the Iranian-produced Fateh 110 missile, a surface-to-surface solid propellant missile. With a range of up to 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, it is capable of reaching any target in Israel.

He added that Hezbollah also has weaponry “much more sophisticated” than the Fatah 110 but didn’t elaborate.

Israel in the past has launched attacks into Syria ostensibly to destroy Iranian delivery of the missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Nasrallah said Hezbollah will not tolerate Israeli assaults, adding that it considers land, sea and aerial violations besides the killings of its fighters as “red lines” that “cannot be surpassed by the Zionists.”

Nasrallah provided no timetable for any retaliation. However, he made it clear that any attack, even on Syria, will be considered an attack on Hezbollah.

“The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation,” Nasrallah said, “and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria.”

The “resistance axis” is defined as the countries that comprise the Shiite crescent – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. As Iran seeks to increase its influence in the Middle East, it is butting up against the Sunni crescent, comprised of the Gulf Cooperating Countries and other Arab countries.

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