The Northern Arena and the Shiite Axis – Weekly Review of Key Events and Data (May 6-12)

The Lebanese arena:

War data:

In Israel, the government evacuated 43 communities located up to five kilometers from the Lebanese border. A total of about 61,000 citizens. To them were added several thousand more who decided to evacuate independently.

It should be noted that not all Israeli communities have been totally evacuated, and there is still a civilian presence. This is because these communities rely on tourism and agriculture. Farmers come to work on the land, in the orchards, tending to cow and goat herds. Furthermore, some of the communities’ industrial plants are still operational and employ workers from non-evacuated areas. In addition, some of the evacuees returned independently.

The Israeli government has extended the evacuation period until the summer of 2024 (July/August 2024).

Hezbollah has killed 7 Israeli civilians and 1 agricultural worker with foreign citizenship so far. A total of 8 civilians were killed.

Over the last week, 55 attacks have been carried out on the northern border. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for 46 of these strikes, which used high-trajectory missiles (including Grad, Burkan, and Falaq), anti-tank missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Islamic resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for 3 UAV attacks on Israel’s northern border.

Responsibility was not claimed for 6 incidents, including 4 UAV infiltrations and 2 incidents of high-trajectory rocket fire.

During the past week, the communities of Shtula, Manara, Metula, Shlomi, Hanita, Avivim, Netua, Kfar Giladi and Kiryat Shmona were attacked by anti-tank missiles, UAVs and rockets (including Grad and Falaq).

In recent weeks, it has become clear that Hezbollah has upped the severity of its operations in reaction to Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah’s heightened offensive intensity is also evident in an increase in anti-tank missile firing from the beginning of May 2024 to May 12. Hezbollah employs anti-tank missiles to strike both military and civilian targets, and only last week it launched dozens of anti-tank missiles against communities along the northern border, causing considerable property damage.

For further information, what are the reasons for Hezbollah’s increased intensity of attacks against Israel.

Prominent launching and shooting incidents against Israel:

(May 6) Dozens of Grad rockets were fired at the Golan Heights. According to Hezbollah, at a military base and in retaliation for an IDF attack the previous day in the Baalbek area.

(May 6) A Hezbollah UAV attack was launched, one UAV was intercepted and the other exploded near the community of Metula. Two soldiers were killed.

In the video: the UAV strike in the Metula area

(May 7) UAV attack on two military bases. Two UAVs were identified, one was intercepted, minor damage was sustained and there were no casualties.

(May 7) Anti-tank missiles fired at the communities of Shtula, Manara and Matula. According to Hezbollah, in response to IDF attacks in southern Lebanon.

Above: Damage to a house in the community of Shtula as a result of Hezbollah anti-tank fire.
In the video: published released by Hezbollah’s combat media arm showing launches at the community of Shtula.

According to the video, the attack on Shtula may have involved a Tharallah anti-tank system that releases Dehlavieh missiles (an Iranian version of the Russian Kornet missile). This system, introduced in 2015, is a relatively advanced Iranian invention based on Russia’s Kornet missile. This is a double-barreled launcher that launches the Dehlavieh missiles in rapid succession.

Above: A house in Metula damaged by Hezbollah launches

(May 8) Anti-tank missiles fired at the communities of Metula, Shlomi, Manara, Hanita and Avivim. According to Hezbollah, in response to IDF attacks in southern Lebanon.

(May 8) Mortar shells and anti-tank missiles were fired at the area of Malkiya. One soldier was killed and another was wounded.

(May 9) A Burkan rocket was launched at the Shlomi area. According to Hezbollah, the rocket was aimed at an army base. In actuality, the rocket fell adjacent to houses in the city of Shlomi.

In the video: Documentation of the Burkan rocket launched at the city of Shlomi (taken from social networks, credit: unknown)

(May 10) Dozens of rockets were fired at the city of Kiryat Shmona. 35 rockets were launched, of which 15 were intercepted and about 20 rockets fell inside the city. Heavy damage was caused to infrastructure and property – dozens of homes and vehicles were damaged. Following the bombardment, a fire broke out in Ramim Ridge, causing extensive damage.

Above: A rocket hits a vehicle in the city of Kiryat Shmona (Credit: Kiryat Shmona Spokesperson’s Office)
In the video: The fires in Ramim Ridge (taken from social media, credit: unknown)

(May 11) A UAV attack on an army base in the Beit Hillel area. According to reports, two UAVs fell in the Beit Hillel area causing no casualties. A short time after, Hezbollah again launched UAVs at the area, which it claimed an F-16 aircraft had failed to intercept.

In the video: Footage published in Lebanese sources on 11.05 of an Iranian Ababil-T drone on its way to Israel

Hezbollah casualties:

During the past week Hezbollah has issued announcements regarding 8 of its military operatives who have been killed.

In addition, 4 PIJ military operatives were killed in Lebanon.

As of October 8, 2023, a total of 297 Hezbollah operatives have been killed. Most of the operatives killed live south of the Litani River (194 operatives killed, constituting 65% of all the operatives killed). Many Hezbollah operatives and their families live in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel. They operate in southern Lebanon as part of Hezbollah’s geographic units (Nasser/Aziz) and Hezbollah’s designated units (Radwan unit), while assimilating into the civilian population (human shield tactics).

Prominent airstrikes in Lebanon

(May 6) Attack on a Hezbollah military compound in the a-Safri area of Baalbek. According to Lebanese sources, 3 civilians were wounded in the attack.

(May 8) Attacks on Hezbollah targets south of the village of Ramiya, very close to the border with Israel. In an area with dense vegetation and very close to the Blue Line, Hezbollah deployed and established many military infrastructures. They includes, among other things, many weapons. It is possible that some of the infrastructures were intended to assist the Radwan unit and the geographic units carry out offensive activity against Israeli territory on command.

IDF Spokesperson’s video: Attacks in the Ramiya area

Hezbollah – General:

(May 6) Hezbollah held a series of meetings concerning political dialogue with a number of senior academics in Sidon and neighboring towns. The meetings reviewed various political developments, local, regional and international, focusing on the war in Gaza and its impact on the situation in Lebanon.

(May 8) The resistance Action Front, in collaboration with the Islamic Health Organization, organized a free health day at the resistance Action Front’s headquarters in Barja, which included medical examinations in various specialties, particularly for chronic diseases, health education, and the distribution of free medicines, as well as the provision of a fully equipped ambulance to the people of Barja.

Sheikh Zahir Al-Ja’id, head of the Resistance Front, said in his speech: “The Islamic resistance today, represented by Hezbollah and its wise leadership, does not forget its people, even though it is today in the midst of the battle with the Zionist enemy for Palestine, to support Gaza, and to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, but that doesn’t prevent the resistance and its leadership from thinking about its people in all regions.”

(May 9) A protest was organized by Hezbollah’s educational mobilization in the city of Tyre in solidarity and support for Gaza and resistance to Israel. The protest was attended by representatives of educational institutions in the city of Tyre and its region.

Lebanon – General:

(May 7) According to the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat and the National Council for Scientific Research, which works to document the damage caused by the war in southern Lebanon, the economic damage in southern Lebanon is estimated at $350 million and in Lebanon in general at $1.5 billion. Since the beginning of the war, Israel has carried out more than 4,450 attacks, about 1,700 homes were destroyed and 1,500 were partially damaged. The war has left 90,000 displaced people from 45 towns. In addition, it was noted that the largest agricultural damage was recorded in the town of Aitaroun, over $50 million as a result of damage to tobacco farmland.

(May 7) A ceremony was held at the Kfarshima Logistics Brigade to receive equipment donated by the Canadian authorities to the army, in the presence of the Canadian ambassador to Lebanon and the logistics commander of the Lebanese army.

(May 9) Following the growing tension between the Lebanese public and the Syrian refugees, there were reports of the arrest of a number of Syrian refugees by general security in the city of Tyre. It is suspected that the detained Syrians violated their residency conditions. Security forces closed their businesses.

(May 10) According to new figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of legal and illegal Syrian refugees in Lebanon is 1.5 million. This is in contrast to figures from the Lebanese Ministry of General Defense, according to which the number of refugees stands at over 2 million people, comprising about 43% of the country’s population.

The Syrian arena:

(May 9) Reports of an attack on a building owned by the Iraqi Shiite militia al-Nujaba in the al-Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood in southern Damascus. On the same day, the militia distributed a leaflet threatening revenge deep within Israel in response to an Israeli strike on one of its buildings.

Above: The location of the attack and the building attacked in the area of al-Sayyida Zaynab

Above: The leaflet Iraqi Shiite militia al-Nujaba published

Syria – General:

(May 6) President Assad met in Damascus with the head of Hashd al-Shaabi, Falih al-Fayyad, the umbrella organization of pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. The two discussed strengthening cooperation in the joint struggle against terrorism and protecting borders from passage by extremist organizations.

(May 6) According to local reports, an IRGC arms convoy was attacked by unidentified militants in the Albukamal area. At least 4 Assad army soldiers were detained for questioning by Iranian officials. The city of Albukamal in eastern Syria is the main gateway of the Iranian land corridor to Syria and Lebanon.

(May 9) Reports on the transfer of a shipment of weapons including suicide UAVs from Iran to local and foreign militias affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in eastern Syria. The transports entered through one of the illegal crossings, east of Albukamal, accompanied by armed Hezbollah Iraq and in coordination with the Assad regime. The shipment arrived at the Iranian Quarter in the town of Al-Salihiyah, near Mayadeen. The town of Al-Salihiyah is considered one of the main centers used by Hezbollah, Iraq and Lebanese Hezbollah for launching UAVs.

The arrival of the arms shipment coincided with a security meeting of senior officials and leaders of the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah Iraq and Lebanon at the Iranian hospital in the city. Military meetings of senior officials in civilian areas are intended to avoid a possible airstrike.

Shiite Axis – General:

The most recent attack on US bases in Iraq and Syria, officially reported by US Central Command, took place on February 20. According to various reports, the attacks on the American bases stopped due to direct Iranian instructions to the Shiite militias, against the background of secret agreements between Iran and the United States. It should be noted that at this stage it is unclear whether a decision has been made by the Shiite axis to renew the attacks.

(May 6) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for six attacks against Israel:

  • Launching two UAVs at Israel, one at Eilat and one at a “target in Israel.” At least one of the UAVs was intercepted by Israeli Air Force planes.
  • Attacking the oil facility in the Ashkelon port using a cruise missile (Al-Arqab type) and the Leviathan gas platform using UAVs. No further indication was reported.
  • Attacking Jonathan and Jordan base in the Golan Heights using UAVs. No further indication was reported.

(May 7) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack on the Sapir base with a UAV. That same night, an interception of a UAV by an IAF fighter jet was reported.

(May 7) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claims responsibility for a UAV attack on a target in Eilat. That same night, it was reported that the IDF intercepted a suspicious aerial target en route into Israeli territory from the east, near the city of Eilat.

(May 9) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claims responsibility for a number of attacks against Israel:

  • Attacking a “vital target” in Eilat with two UAVs.
  • Attack on the oil port in Ashkelon with advanced cruise missiles (Al-Arqab).
  • Attacking the Nevatim base with UAVs.
  • Attacking the Elifelet base with UAVs.
  • Attacking the Leviathan gas platform with UAVs.
  • Attack on a fact-based base with UAVs.

Apart from claims of responsibility, no other indications of these attacks were reported.

(May 10) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for two attacks against Israel: a UAV attack on a military site and a “vital target” in Eilat. No further indication of an attack was reported.

(May 11) The Islamic resistance in Iraq claims responsibility for attacking the Ramon Air Force base with cruise missiles. No further indication of an attack was reported.

This week (May 6-May 12) the Islamic resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for 17 attacks against Israel. Apart from three reports of UAV interceptions in the Eilat area, no other indications of attacks were reported.

Yemen – Houthi-land:

During the past week, coalition forces managed to strike three UAVs launched by the Houthis.

(May 9) Houthi forces claim responsibility for 4 attacks:

  • Two attacks against ships claiming to be linked to Israel: the MSC DEGO and the MSC GINA in the Gulf of Aden using ballistic missiles and UAVs.
  • 2 attacks against the MSC VITTORIA in the Indian ocean and Arab Sea.

According to the US Central Command, on May 6 three UAVs launched by Houthi forces were intercepted, and another UAV aimed at a ship crashed at sea and caused no damage. It was also reported that on May 7, the Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile at the Gulf of Aden, with no damage or casualties reported.

(May 9) Ansar Allah leader Sayyid Abd al-Malik al-Houthi said they had begun the “fourth stage” of the escalation, which included targeting every ship of a company engaged in supplying or transporting goods to Israel. According to him, as long as the war in Gaza continues, they will also decide on the progress of the escalation to the “fifth stage” and the “sixth stage,” which will have sensitivity and influence on the enemy.

Since October 2023, there have been 143 Houthi shooting incidents.

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Alma Research

Alma Research

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