Analysis published this week in Haaretz indicates that Hezbollah is using Iranian and Syrian assistance to build up its terror infrastructure in the Golan Heights, a move that is likely to deepen concerns that the Iranian-backed organization is positioning itself for a dramatic escalation in the region at a time of the terror group’s choosing. The Golan Heights area has in recent months seen intense fighting between rebel groups and troops loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime, the latter with support from Hezbollah fighters. Israeli military analyst Amos Harel assessed that the Iran-backed terror group has approximately 5,000 fighters in Syria at any given time. The past year has seen Hezbollah deepen its involvement in the Syrian conflict, to the point where its fighting for the Bashar al-Assad regime has now become a matter of open boasting for Iranian military leaders. The Israeli military, per Harel, “detects a clear operational improvement in Hezbollah,” which Harel attributes to fighters gaining combat experience in Syria. Most analysts consider Hezbollah’s involvement in the region’s nearly four-year conflict to have stressed its resources, but the organization remains capable of saturation bombing and perhaps even invading Israeli population centers. Harel’s analysis comes a day after Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was criticized for comments made Monday in Lebanon that groups like Hezbollah “play a positive role” in the region. Lebanon’s Future bloc rejected Larijani’s comments, in which the speaker also claimed that the terror group, which is backed by Iran, is “more productive” than Lebanon’s government. Iran has for years been criticized for expanding its role in the region and providing support to non-state actors operating in among other places Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip.
Emergency response teams provide medical, psychological and social support, as well as distribution of relief goods. IsraAID swung into immediate action upon news of the destruction Typhoon Hagupit (locally called Ruby) caused across the Philippines from December 6 to 9, leaving hundreds of thousands of families homeless. The Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency — in coordination with the UN and the local Ministry Department of Health – sent an emergency response team to provide medical, psychological and social support, as well as distribution of relief goods in Can-Avid municipality. Ninety seven percent of residents in Can-Avid have been affected by the typhoon, which made landfall just 15km away in the city of Dolores. The team has also delivered food and non food items to over 400 families, which included rice, noodles, water, mosquito repellent, hygiene kits and more. IsraAID also conducted psychological and social support activities to more than 150 children in Barangay Rawis and Camantang, and trained local professionals in dealing with trauma-affected communities. (via Israel21c)
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