Following an armed Lebanese/Hezbollah incursion into Israel on Wednesday in which three Israeli soldiers were killed and two kidnapped, the Israeli Defense Forces have retaliated with a blockade and bombings of Lebanese ports, including the destruction of all three runways at Beirut’s international airport. Additionally, the IDF has attacked several strategic Lebanese targets including TV stations, government buildings, and an army air base.

This marks the latest in a recent spate of violence which began with armed attacks on Israeli soldiers and territory by Palestinian/Hamas and Lebanese/Hezbollah forces. Israeli officials have characterized these attacks as acts of war.

The escalation of tensions in the middle east began following the election of Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, to the head of the Palestinian National Authority in January. The election followed a period of relative peace (by middle east standards) during Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership with the Fatah party after the death of Yasser Arafat. Since the election, the political situation in the region has continued to degrade.

With Hezbollah and Hamas still advocating the destruction of Israel and continuing terrorist activities—and Israel tired of constant attacks and broken promises—full-scale war is becoming a real possibility for the middle east.