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Enemies watch: What foes of Israel are doing to counter them



Enemies watch: What foes of Israel are doing to counter them

In an era dominated by cutting-edge technology and digital warfare, Hezbollah has turned to low-tech tactics to outmaneuver their foe, Israel despite the Jewish nation’s sophisticated surveillance systems.

Following the targeted killings of its senior commanders by Israeli airstrikes, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group has resorted to using pagers, landline phones, and couriers to evade detection.

The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated since Hamas, Hezbollah’s Palestinian ally in Gaza, declared war on Israel in October. While the hostilities along Lebanon’s southern border have been relatively contained, recent weeks have seen a surge in attacks, raising fears of a full-scale war.

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To counter Israel’s advanced electronic surveillance, Hezbollah has banned cell phones from the battlefield, opting for older communication methods less susceptible to tracking. This shift comes as Israel’s electronic eavesdropping capabilities, including phone and computer hacking, remain among the world’s most advanced.

In addition to low-tech measures, Hezbollah employs drones to gather intelligence and strike at Israeli targets.

The group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has described this strategy as “blinding” Israel, aiming to disrupt its surveillance efforts. Hezbollah’s drones have captured footage of Israeli military installations and observation balloons, showcasing their ability to penetrate Israel’s defenses.

Hezbollah’s adaptation to using couriers and fixed-line telecommunication networks from the early 2000s demonstrates a blend of old and new strategies. Code words for weapons and meeting sites are frequently updated and delivered by couriers to avoid interception.

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This return to basic communication methods mirrors tactics used by other militant leaders, like Osama bin Laden, who evaded capture by avoiding digital communication.

The ongoing conflict has had significant human costs, with Israeli strikes killing over 330 Hezbollah fighters and around 90 civilians in Lebanon.

In contrast, attacks from Lebanon have resulted in 21 Israeli soldiers and 10 civilian deaths. The IDF has emphasized its precision strikes on Hezbollah’s military targets, using thorough intelligence gathering to minimize civilian casualties.

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Despite these measures, Hezbollah remains vulnerable to Israeli intelligence. Lebanon’s economic crisis and political rivalries have created opportunities for Israeli informants. In one instance, a phone call from a supposed local official led to a missile strike that killed five Hezbollah fighters, including the son of a senior Hezbollah lawmaker.