Wednesday, July 12

IDF intel chief: Kidnapping 'a nightmarish peek into an Iranian-led Mideast' (Exclusive Podcast Interview)

Dr. Eran Lerman (IDF Col. - res.), former deputy chief of IDF strategic intelligence planning, talks with Israel At Level Ground in an exclusive interview:
  • Is Israel on the brink of a multi-pronged hot war with Lebanon, Hizbullah, Syria and the Palestinians?

  • Can the IDF logistically capable of carrying out such wide-ranging operations?

  • Events over the next 48 to 72 hours.

  • Is Defense Minister Amir Peretz - without military experience - up to the job ahead of him, or will he be a victim of circumstances, in way over his head?

    Listen in now.

IDF Chief: 'Israel should prepare for Hizbullah missile strikes against north and center of country'

Smoke from shelling along border with Lebanon. (Photo: YNET)

Hizbullah kidnaps two IDF soldiers, fires Katyusha and mortar barrage along northern border into Israel. Initial reports say one reserve soldier and one conscript taken hostage. Both are from the Druse community. At least one of them is reportedly still alive.

Map of area of fighting (Haaretz)

IDF ground forces enter southern Lebanon in massive show of force; tank runs over hidden land mine, killing three soldiers, according to initial reports.

11 civilians and soldiers wounded in strikes against IDF outposts, including Zarit, and Israeli towns and villages.

Two Hizbullah terrorists were reported killed in IDF actions earlier in the day.

All northern residents are in bomb shelters, after a Katyusha and mortar barrage shortly after 0900. There are reports of civilian casualties from strike. Shlomi mayor warns all Israelis along northern border to remain in shelters and reinforced rooms: "There could be more shelling at any moment."

An IDF soldier on a tank prepares to enter Lebanese
territory Wednesday. (Photo: Channel 2

There have been hot intelligence alerts along the northern border for several months, especially after IAF jets buzzed Syrian President Bashar Assad's presidential palace at Latakia several weeks ago, after the Gilad Shalit kidnapping in southern Gaza, in a clear warning to Damascus-based Hamas politburo chief Khaled Maashal. Israel views Maashal as the mastermind behind the Gaza kidnapping.

IDF striking Hizbullah from land, sea and air in order to thwart the soldiers' abductors from escaping with the hostages further north, deeper into Lebanese territory. IAF jets hit two bridges, including over the Litani River to stop escape, and at Hizbullah outposts, some only 200 meters from from the Israeli border.

IDF sea and land artillery reportedly hit two power stations, as well as Hizbullah concentrations in southern Lebanon, south of the capital Beirut, terror strongholds in the Bekaa Valley near Syria, and Tyre in the north.

Lebanese road after IDF strike. (Channel 2)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that Israel's reaction will be “restrained, pinpoint and severe.” IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz convened senior military officials to discuss military responses.

"Israel should prepare for Hizbullah missile strikes against north and center of country," Halutz warned, the first time such a severe warning of Hizbullah attacks has been publically broached. The terror organization has Iranian-supplied missiles capable of reaching a wide swath of the north and center of the country.

This morning's operations are not terror attack, but rather an attack against Israel by a sovereign nation, for no reason or right. The Lebanese government, with Hizbullah playing an integral part, is responsible for the attack,” Olmert said, saying that the attack was an attempt to destabilize the region.

Israel and this citizens are going through a difficult hour, but will know how to deal with those who are trying to hurt us,” Olmert said. “Israel will not give in to extortion, and will not negotiate with terrorists. That was true yesterday, and is true today.”

“Israel views itself as free to act in any manner necessary to deal with the situation,” Halutz said, adding, “This action by Hizbullah will drag Lebanon 20 years into the past, and cause them great tragedy.”

The IDF is carrying out a major call up of reservists, due to the result of the severity of the situation.

The Israeli cabinet will convene this evening at 2000 to discuss further steps in the operations in Lebanon and Gaza.

Hizbullah officials are bragging about results of the attack and kidnapping, boasting that the release of thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israel prisons is close; Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan in Lebanon is also demanding the release of prisoners for Israeli captives.

Both Hizbullah and Hamas are demanding release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, including Samir Kuntar, jailed for killing Israelis in an attack several decades ago on the city of Nahariya.

The Lebanese cabinet is set to convene this afternoon to consider responses to the situation, according to the BBC's Arabic language reports. Lebanon has not implemented UN Resolution 1559, which calls for the army to deploy in the south, and disarm Hizbullah.


IDF dropped one ton bomb on a building where senior Hamas members in southern Gaza, killing six, and wounding 15, including several children according to Palestinians.

The attacks also reportedly wounded Hamas military chieftain Muhammad Deif, although it is not clear to what extent.

From The Jerusalem Post.

From YNETnews.

From Haaretz.


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