The Israeli army will hold a 3-day exercise near the border with Lebanon

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday that it would conduct a three-day military exercise along the Lebanese border, as tensions remained high with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group.

The IDF said the exercise would end Tuesday afternoon. Explosions are expected to be heard in nearby towns, he added.

The military said the exercise was planned in advance, indicating it was not the result of a new assessment.

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have been high recently as they have been engaged for more than a year in rare US-brokered talks aimed at resolving a dispute over rights to offshore fields believed to contain gas riches natural. The parties are said to be close to an agreement.

Both countries claim some 860 square kilometers (330 square miles) of Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon also claims Israel’s Karish gas field is in disputed territory under ongoing maritime border negotiations, while Israel claims it is within its internationally recognized economic waters.

Hezbollah has stepped up its rhetoric in recent months as Israel and Lebanon have engaged in talks. He remains fiercely opposed to any concessions to Israel. Tensions rose in June when an Israeli-chartered production vessel arrived near the Karish offshore gas field.

A sea-based Iron Dome air defense system is seen on a Navy ship, guarding the floating production, storage and offloading vessel Energean at the Karish gas field, in images released by the military on July 2 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly threatened to target Israeli offshore facilities. In July, the IDF said it shot down four unarmed Hezbollah drones launched at a gas platform in Karish.

Lebanon and Israel last fought a war in 2006, have no diplomatic relations and are separated by the UN-patrolled ceasefire line.

In June, the IDF held a major military exercise in Cyprus, simulating a ground offensive deep into Lebanon in a potential war against the Iran-backed group.

Hezbollah has long been the IDF’s most significant adversary on Israel’s borders, with an arsenal estimated at nearly 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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