The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah put on a show of force Sunday, extending a rare media invitation to one of its training sites in southern Lebanon, where its forces staged a simulated military exercise.
Masked fighters jumped through flaming hoops, fired from the backs of motorcycles, and blew up Israeli flags posted in the hills above and a wall simulating the one at the border between Lebanon and Israel.
The exercise came ahead of “Liberation Day,” the annual celebration of the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon on May 25, 2000, and in the wake of a recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. Militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza, has long had ties with Hezbollah.
The recent heightened tensions also come months after Lebanon and Israel signed a landmark U.S.-brokered maritime border agreement, which many analysts predicted would lower the risk of a future military confrontation between the two countries.
The Israeli military declined to comment on the Hezbollah exercise.