Israeli General: Killing Hezbollah's Nasrallah Would Be Decisive Victory in Next Lebanon War

Ground forces chief Yaakov Barak says Hezbollah has tunnels not necessarily to infiltrate Israel but to store weapons and shelter fighters

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Bilal Hussein / AP

Israel’s goal in its next war in the north will be to “reach a decisive victory” including the killing of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a senior Israel Defense Forces official said Wednesday. 

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“If we manage to kill Nasrallah in the next war, I would see that as reaching a decisive victory,” Maj. Gen. Yaakov Barak told reporters when asked what “decisive victory” meant.

The remarks echo comments from the Israeli military's chief spokesperson in November, who added that the Israel Defense Forces is conducting psychological and media warfare against Hezbollah.

The IDF sees the Gaza front as the one more likely to erupt in the near future, but its preparations, procurement and equipment upgrades are geared toward Lebanon and possibly Syria.

Any future war is expected to be very different from previous ones, including on Israel’s home front. As a result, Israeli ground forces are likely to be sent into enemy territory more quickly, widely and deeply than before, Barak said.

Combat may be different from that during the Second Lebanon War in light of the changes on the northern front over the past dozen years. The IDF foresees a threat underground as well, assuming Hezbollah has tunnels in Lebanon not necessarily to infiltrate Israel but to store weapons and shelter its fighters.

Another problem is that this time fighting in the north could mean on the Syrian border as well. A front could also open up in Gaza in the south.

Based on the assumption that Israeli forces would move more broadly and deeply into enemy territory, the IDF is working on radar technology for light vehicles and possibly the troops themselves, as well as on technology to protect soldiers from mortar shells, drone attacks and the like.