Will war break out between Hezbollah and Israel in the next month?

Started Jan 26, 2024 08:00PM UTC

As the Israel-Hamas war continues, clashes between Hezbollah and Israel are intensifying (AP News). Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group with ties to Hamas and Iran (Council on Foreign Relations, Reuters). Since the conflict began on 7 October 2023, Hezbollah has exchanged cross-border fire with Israel, with several Hezbollah militants being killed along the border (Reuters). Some observers have speculated that these clashes may escalate into a much larger ground invasion of Israel by Hezbollah militants, while others believe that Hezbollah is well served by maintaining the current level of engagement (Washington Post, Al Jazeera).

Resolution Criteria: 
To determine whether or when war has broken out, any of the following situations would resolve this question as "Yes". Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and in unclear circumstances the INFER team will use discretion to determine the final resolution:  
  • Hezbollah launches hundreds of missiles targeting Israeli cities or military targets 
  • Israel is infiltrated by large numbers of Hezbollah militants
  • Hezbollah conducts an attack that results in at least 50 casualties in Israel
  • Hezbollah conducts missile strikes on targets at least 10 kilometers from the Israel-Lebanon border.
  • Israeli tanks enter Lebanon to engage Hezbollah
  • Senior Israeli government or military officials declare war on Hezbollah or state that fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated into war

This question will be resolved using credible open-source news reporting as well as reports from the IDF (some activity related to recent conflict with Hezbollah is recorded on their Hamas/Israel War Updates page) or other Israeli government sources.

This question is part of the issue decomposition on “Iran's Influence on Violent Non-State Actors.” For more, see INFER's explainer, issue reports, and other questions in this decomposition.

Question clarification
Issued on 02/15/24 10:03pm
Any of the events listed in the resolution criteria must be part of a larger war effort to count towards resolution. A brief/limited engagement will not count. Rocket fire and military clashes along the Israel-Lebanon border have been typical since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on 7 October 2023, and continued engagement at that level will not be considered as "war breaking out" for the purposes of this question.

On 14 February 2024, rockets launched from Lebanon struck within Israel roughly 13 km from the border. In response, the IDF conducted airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Should this result in sustained further escalation (i.e., war between Israel and Hezbollah), the question will be resolved as “Yes”. Otherwise, the question will remain open.
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