- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Israel called up 2,000 military reservists for a surprise exercise to prepare for an engagement with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched the drill late Sunday as a means of testing its response time to a Hezbollah threat, the Jerusalem Post reported. On Tuesday, the forces were preparing to take part in live-fire exercises.

It’s the first large-scale training exercise the nation has launched in years, and comes at a time of escalating tensions with Hezbollah and heightened tensions with Syria, marked this week by positive soil tests of President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against rebel fighters.

At the same time, Iran has warned against any intervention in Syria, fueling Israel’s fears that it may be in a tight spot of facing regional unrest alone.

“Reality forces us to prepare these abilities,” an Israeli source told the Post. “The reserves understand this. The scenario involves Lebanon, but it could also be Syria.”

The IDF’s Etgar Formation, a part of the Northern Command, began calling reserves without giving notice to see if they could successfully deploy with 48 hours, the Post reported.

“There’s a need for high alert, via a surprise drill,” the source said. “This is part of our training system.”

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