There's a war going on out there!IDF paratroopers battled Hezbullah terrorists this morning in the south Lebanese town of Ayta a-Shab. Four Hezbullah terrorists were killed in the battle, and as many as twenty Hezbullah terrorists were killed in the area. The IDF did not sustain any casualties in this battle, which involved light machine guns and rockets. The IDF said that the terrorists fired anti-tank rockets at troops from a house in the town. I sure hope there were no 'civilians' in that house, because if there were, they are not protected by the Geneva Convention.
The battle came after the security cabinet approved expanded ground operations in Lebanon. During the night last night, the IDF, working under the assumption that only a few days were left for the operations against Hezbullah, geared up for a massive ground incursion into Lebanon on three different fronts, utilizing the Golani, Nahal and the Paratroopers infantry brigades.
IDF ground forces have taken up positions in the southern Lebanese town of A-Taybe and are carrying out operations in Al-Adaysa and Rav a-Taltin, west of Metulla. Officials said that the above-mentioned towns were being used as Katyusha rocket launching sites. In A-Taybe, which is near the Litani River, the troops took over a Hezbullah command center.
HaAretz reports that a total of five units - thousands of soldiers - are currently deployed in Lebanon. The forces are active from the Metula region to the area of Zarit, reaching some three to six kilometers inside Lebanese territory. As yet, no reserve soldiers have entered Lebanon, although their deployment is being considered.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the goal of the operation is two-fold: to push Hezbullah back to the Litani River, some 2-25 miles (4-40 kilometers) north of the border in Central Lebanon, and to clear a 2-kilometer security zone along the Lebanese - Israeli border. All Hezbullah outposts in the security zone would be razed.
Several Katyushas fell on Nahariya this morning. No injuries and no damage.
The air force also resumed strikes in the Bekaa Valley this morning along the Lebanese - Syrian border. Some of you may recall that the 48-hour moratorium on air attacks is not supposed to end until 2:00 AM tonight. But Israel has rejected any cease fire until an international force is in place in southern Lebanon. Note that the US is not protesting. Thank you again, George W. Bush!
The Jerusalem Post summarizes the air war:
Israeli jet fighters struck deep inside Lebanese territory, hitting Hermel, some 120 kilometers north of the Israeli border in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. Warplanes fired at least five air-to-surface missiles on the edge of the town, targeting a road linking eastern Lebanon to western regions and the coastline.Arutz Sheva is reporting from Lebanese media that Israeli jet fighters are attacking targets all along the Litani River, accompanied by heavy artillery bombardments in the central sector of southern Lebanon.
About six hours later, warplanes returned to attack Hermel again, hitting a pickup truck loaded with cooking gas tanks, security officials said. The canisters exploded, sending flames shooting up from the vehicle for nearly an hour. The driver had pulled over and exited the vehicle before the attack, and was not hurt, they said. [Somehow, I doubt those tanks had cooking gas in them. CiJ]
In the west, Israeli warships offshore in the Mediterranean sent artillery into the villages of Mansouri, Shamaa and Teir Harfan around the port city of Tyre. No casualties were reported.
Another strike at an area near the Syrian border, about 10 kilometers north of Hermel, targeted the Qaa-Homs road, one of four official crossing points between Lebanon and Syria. Lebanon's official news agency reported Israeli jets also hit early Tuesday near the Masnaa crossing into Syria, which was attacked several times in the last three days.
Tuesday's airstrikes mean that two of the four border crossings are now closed because of damage. Repeated airstrikes have made the main Beirut-Damascus highway impassable.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Tuesday that Israel was not interested in waging war on Syria but would continue to target convoys smuggling weapons across the border into Lebanon.
Another sure sign that Israel is winning:
Al-AP reports that Iran's foreign minister blasted the UN Security Council today for failing to stop the Israel-Hizbullah conflict, and called the US and Israel "partners in these brutal crimes" against Lebanese civilians.
"The UN Security Council has proven its uselessness and ineffectiveness during this (Israeli) aggression," Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters after meeting with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, a strong Hizbullah ally. Personally, I thought the Security Council's "uselessness and ineffectiveness are proven by Iran's continuing efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Look at the bright side: at least Mottaki and I agree on something.