On April 21, 2020, Hizbullah stated in its unofficial mouthpiece Al-Akhbar that it was behind what it called the “fence operation.”
On April 17, three Hizbullah units, working simultaneously, penetrated the border fence with Israel at three locations. The units severed the warning wire between the fence and the watchtowers and then breached the fence. It was said that at one location the fence was breached widely enough to allow a vehicle to cross. However, no vehicle came through.
Hizbullah is pleased with its operational capability to identify key points along the border fence with Israel and damage them, and it is gloating over Israeli mentions of the damage to “the most sophisticated border-protection system in the world.” Hizbullah believes that its “fence operation” punctured what Israel views as the great achievement of eliminating the threat of the cross-border tunnels from Lebanon. Hizbullah wants to make clear that even though its ability to operate under the fence has been impaired, it is still operationally capable of crossing the fence aboveground.
Hizbullah directly linked its “fence operation” to the airstrike on its vehicle in Syria near the border with Lebanon, affirming that its response was completely symmetrical to the Israeli move. As Hizbullah sees it, both moves were meant to signal that the sides are aware of each other’s activity and neither side has crossed the line. Hence, Hizbullah’s operation was aimed at warning Israel that any attack on it, even on Syrian soil, will prompt a retaliation from Lebanon.
Hizbullah is also emphasizing that even in the midst of coping with the Covid-19 crisis, it is able to act against Israel – no less than Israel, as it deals with the crisis, can act against Hizbullah. Nevertheless, under the prevailing circumstances, neither side wants to breach the balance of deterrence between them. It should be stressed that this rationalistic analysis by Hizbullah could collapse in the face of a miscalculation by either side.