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July 13, 2006

News Summary: Israel At War (Updated)

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Here's a summary of the latest news on Israel's response to having Islamic terrorists from Hizbollah and Hamas crossing into Israel and capturing its soldiers. (IMHO the real force behind what is fastly becoming an all out war is - Iran indirectly by pulling the strings but directly by being the brains behind all the actions of Syria, Hamas, and Hezbollah, with Syria more directly involved via its direct support of Hamas and the puller of the strings, and Hamas and Hizbollah, being the puppets of Iran via Syria. What brings all this to a screeching halt? As pointed out an earlier post, when Syria realizes that the price for its involvement in the snatching of the soldiers and the rocket attacks on Israel - this war is over. If Syria fails to realize the cost of its involvement, or waits too late to do so, the entire Middle East is likely to explode.)

According to DEBKAfile (not always reliable, but in this case their analysis is in sync with other sources I've read), Hizballah acted on orders from Tehran to open a second front against Israel, partly to ease IDF military pressure on the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This was in response to an appeal Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made to the Iranian ambassador to Damascus Mohammad Hassan Akhtari Sunday, July 9.

... Sending Hizballah to open a warfront against Israel is the logical tactical complement to its latest order to go into action against American and British forces in southern Iraq.

... Tehran hopes to hijack the agenda before the G-8 summit opening in St. Petersberg, Russia on July 15. Instead of discussing Iran's nuclear case and the situation in Iraq along the lines set by President George W. Bush, the leaders of the industrial nations will be forced to address the Middle East flare-up

News Summary:

Israel attacks Beirut airport and imposes sea and air blockade on Lebanon
: Israel also clamped an air, sea and land blockade on Lebanon, bombing Beirut airport and sending warships into Lebanese waters following Hizbullah's snatching of two soldiers, military sources said.

Israel blocks Lebanon ports: Since this morning Israeli naval vessels have enforced a full naval closure on Lebanon, because Lebanon's ports are used to transfer both terrorists and weapons to the terror organisations operating in Lebanon," a military spokesman said. ... The spokesman declined comment on whether Israel was also enforcing a closure of Lebanon's airspace. ... Israeli media said the aim was to put pressure on the Lebanese government to act against Hezbollah, which seized the soldiers and killed seven others in an attack yesterday.

Israel attacks Beirut international airport runways, airport closed: Israel widened its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday, targeting the country's only international airport in the capital's suburbs, forcing its closure, and blasting southern Lebanon for a second day...


Northern Israeli city hit by rockets from Lebanon
: At least two Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon slammed into the northern Israeli city of Nahariya on Thursday, wounding three civilians, the Israeli army said. ... The Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah said it had fired 60 rockets at Nahariya, a coastal city south of the Lebanese border.


Head of Hamas' Military Wing Injured in Airstrike
: Mohammed Deif, the shadowy Palestinian who is among the militants most wanted by Israel, was injured in an airstrike early Wednesday, the army said. Deif, an experienced bomb maker who heads Hamas' military wing, was wounded during an attack on a house where the Islamist group's leaders had gathered, the Israeli military said. At least nine civilians, all members of the same family, were killed, Palestinian officials said.

Israeli aircraft attack Palestinian Foreign Ministry: An Israeli air strike destroyed the office of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar on Thursday in an attack that signaled Israel would pursue its Gaza offensive while fighting along a second front in Lebanon. ... the ministry was used by the governing Hamas group to further the movement's activities.


Sign That Crisis Is Regional, Not Just Israel vs. Palestinians
: The expansion of the Gaza crisis into southern Lebanon, confronting Israel with a conflict on its northern and southern borders, has demonstrated that the central issue at stake is regional, not local. ... For Israel the issue is not simply the Palestinians and their actions, including the rocket fire into Israel. It is the broader problem of radical Islam -- of Hamas, as a part of the regional Muslim Brotherhood, and of Iran, a serious regional power with considerable influence on Syria, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the military wing of Hamas.

Israel okays massive strikes on Lebanon; Israel readies for rocket attacks in north: The Israel Defense Forces began preparing last night for a widespread aerial assault on Lebanon, after the cabinet approved a "severe" response to Hezbollah's attack on the northern border yesterday, which ended with eight soldiers dead and two kidnapped. ... In a sharp departure from Israel's response to previous Hezbollah attacks, the late-night cabinet session unanimously agreed that the Lebanese government should be held responsible for yesterday's events.

DEBKAfile reports - Iran's national security adviser Ali Larijani flies to Damascus aboad special military plane Wednesday night as war tension builds up... :

Larijani is also Iran's senior nuclear negotiator. He will remain in Damascus for the duration of the crisis in line with the recently Iranian-Syrian mutual defense pact. His presence affirms that an Israeli attack on Syria will be deemed an assault on Iran. It also links the Israeli hostage crisis to Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.

The White House released a statement holding Syria and Iran responsible for Hizballah abduction and demanding their immediate and unconditional release.

The Syrian army has been put on a state of preparedness.

DEBKAfile's military sources add that the Iranian air force, missile units and navy are also on high alert.

DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources report Hizballah acted on orders from Tehran to open a second front against Israel, partly to ease IDF military pressure on the Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This was in response to an appeal Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made to the Iranian ambassador to Damascus Mohammad Hassan Akhtari Sunday, July 9.

DEBKAfile's Iranian sources report Tehran's rationale as composed of three parts:

1. Iran shows the flag as a champion and defender of its ally, Hamas.

2. Sending Hizballah to open a warfront against Israel is the logical tactical complement to its latest order to go into action against American and British forces in southern Iraq.

3. Tehran hopes to hijack the agenda before the G-8 summit opening in St. Petersberg, Russia on July 15. Instead of discussing Iran's nuclear case and the situation in Iraq along the lines set by President George W. Bush, the leaders of the industrial nations will be forced to address the Middle East flare-up

Any Israeli decision taken at prime minister Ehud Olmert's high level consultation in Jerusalem Wednesday night must take this turn of events into account before deciding on limited air strikes against Hizballah and Lebanese civil targets without delay.

Our sources also report that immediately after Nasrallah's statement to the media, Hizballah's leaders went into hiding, their bases were evacuated and their fighting strength transferred to pre-planned places of concealment. Ahead of the abduction, Hizballah ordnance and missile stocks were transferred to the Palestinian Ahmed Jibril's tunnel system at Naama, 30 km south of Beirut, which was built in the 1980s by East German engineers.

The Israel navy has long tried to smash this coastal underground fortress from the sea without success.

Israel began calling up an armored division, air crews and technicians from the reserves Wednesday night. DEBKAfile's military experts: If Israel's leaders opt for an anti-Hizballah operation on the lines of Operation Summer Rain against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the IDF can expect the same measure of success as it has had in recovering Gilead Shalit and ending the Qassam missiles barrage.

Hezbollah rockets Israel:

Hezbollah's military arm, the Islamic Resistance, claimed on Thursday to have fired long-range Raad 1 missiles at an air base in northern Israel. They also fired more than 60 Katyusha rockets at Israel Thursday morning,

More coming ...

Posted by Richard at July 13, 2006 12:45 AM



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