Rocket Fire From Lebanon More Than Triples

On at least 4 days in the last week of February and first week of March, terrorists in Lebanon fired barrages of over 30 rockets at Israel. Hezbollah also killed one civilian, and injured nine others, with an anti-tank missile attack. This represents a marked increase in attack intensity—an average fire rate of almost 21 projectiles per day from February 26 through March 3, compared to the more limited attack intensity at a rate of roughly 6 projectiles per day in the preceding week.

This surge in Hezbollah and Hezbollah-backed aggression, which has occurred at several other points in the conflict, is likely a response to increasing Israeli military pressure on the group as well as an attempt to gain greater leverage in ongoing diplomatic negotiations with the United States and France. However, given the threat that Hezbollah presents to civilian communities in Israel’s north, Israel is unlikely to cease its strikes until it can compel Hezbollah to accept a western-backed deal that restores security and allows Israelis to return to their homes in the north safely.

Israel’s and Hezbollah’s attempts to pressure one another without escalating to a full-scale war could spark one anyway unless Hezbollah is deterred from launching further attacks against Israel. Such deterrence is more likely to succeed if the Biden administration signals to Hezbollah—as it did in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’s October 7 attack—that the United States will back Israel, or even fight alongside it, should a war against the terror group erupt.