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US Warns That Israel Iron Dome Could Face Challenges In A Full-Scale Conflict With Hezbollah

US Warns That Israel Iron Dome Could Face Challenges In A Full-Scale Conflict With Hezbollah

US officials have cautioned that Israel Iron Dome defense system could face overwhelming challenges in the initial stages of a heightened conflict with Hezbollah. This assessment, aligned with recent analyses from Israeli and US experts, underscores concerns over the potential severity of such a conflict compared to the 2006 Lebanon war.

Diplomatic efforts led by the US and France are underway to prevent escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, amid heightened tensions and cross-border exchanges. Kuwait has advised its citizens against traveling to Lebanon, while the Biden administration has reportedly assured Israel of security support if conflict escalates.

Read more: Global Tensions Escalate: US-Israeli Strike on Lebanon Sparks Fears of Endless War

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged restraint to avoid catastrophic consequences. Since 2006, Hezbollah has significantly augmented its arsenal with capabilities including suicide drones, anti-aircraft missiles, and an expanded missile inventory estimated at 120,000 to 200,000, positioning it as one of the world’s most formidable non-state armed groups.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, claims his group has 100,000 armed members, though estimates suggest about a third have combat experience in Syria.

The greatest challenge lies in Hezbollah’s extensive missile arsenal and its strategy for using them in a conflict with Israel. Since 2006, the group has acquired hundreds of guided ballistic missiles alongside tens of thousands of unguided ones, deployable from bunkers and mobile launchers.

Adding complexity, Hezbollah has enhanced its drone capabilities, including kamikaze drones, posing challenges for Israel’s air defenses.

Research by Reichman University’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism estimated Hezbollah could sustain a daily barrage of up to 3,000 missiles for three weeks, aiming to overwhelm Israel’s air defenses.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies highlighted Hezbollah’s long-range missiles, likely used to target Israeli population centers in coercive tactics during conflict.

Experts foresee the primary challenge in any conflict to be the overwhelming volume of missile attacks designed to saturate and bypass Israel’s defense systems.

Analysts suggest Israel’s air defense, including Iron Dome, may struggle to handle the scale of rocket threats from Hezbollah, prompting Israel to bolster defenses in the north.

Israel operates approximately 10 Iron Dome batteries, each equipped with four launchers and radar systems to detect incoming missiles. However, the system has limitations in engaging multiple threats simultaneously.

Hezbollah’s enhanced missile capabilities have raised concerns about their potential impact on Israel’s civilian resilience, prompting preparations for managing mass casualties in the event of conflict. Some doubt exists regarding whether Israel’s military and political leadership fully comprehends these risks.

During a recent conference, Shaul Goldstein, head of Noga, which oversees Israel’s electrical systems, cautioned that Israel is ill-prepared for a genuine war. He suggested that the country would become uninhabitable within 72 hours without power, citing vulnerabilities in infrastructure like optical fibers and ports. However, Goldstein later softened his remarks in a subsequent radio interview after facing criticism from other experts.

In Gaza City, Israeli airstrikes targeted densely populated areas, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. Initial reports indicated that the bombings aimed to assassinate a senior Hamas commander.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed striking Hamas military infrastructure sites amid reports of significant casualties, including individuals still trapped under rubble. The airstrikes hit the al-Shati neighborhood (also known as Beach camp) and the al-Tuffah district, leading to the deaths of 38 people, according to Ismail al-Thawabta, director of the Hamas-run government media office. Hamas did not immediately respond to Israel’s claim regarding the targeted military infrastructure.