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August 2, 2006

IDF Commando Raid in Baalbek Was Like 'Apocolypse Now' (Updated)

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

As has been widely reported, Israel Defense Forces commandos completed a raid on the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek, deep in the Bakaa Valley of east Lebanon at daybreak Wednesday. Five suspected Hezbollah officials were captured and at least 10 others were killed before completing the operation. All of the commandos returned safely to their base, and none were injured. Dan Riehl has a summary of the operation, and The CounterTerrorism Blog has additional details, along with a map. As to the "shock and awe" effect of the raid, according to the residents of Baalbek - it was like "Apocolypse Now":

We saw flares over the area before midnight ... there were like 12 raids on areas next to the hospital ... then we saw at least six helicopters hovering,' Dandash said Wednesday morning.

'The whole area was pitch dark due to power cuts, but suddenly we felt the whole area was lit and rockets started falling on our heads - dozens of shells were falling on houses next to the targeted hospital,' Dandash said.

'We saw at least one of the (helicopter) gunships landing on the roof of the hospital building,' Suleiman Amhaz, a Baalbek photographer, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa near the scene.

The area next to the Dar el-Hikmah hospital was in total destruction.

Windows at the hospital were shattered, riddled curtains hung from the windows and large holes could be seen on the top floors of the hospital.

Walking through the rubble leading to the hospital Israeli ammunition covered the ground.

Hezbollah guerrillas were still around the place early in the morning.

In the same article, "unconfirmed officials" of Hezbollah, in an almost comical attempt at bravado, claim that the Israelis were "lured" into a trap." Since Hezbollah is such a propaganda machine and does everything from distorting facts to making them up, including staged "evidence" of events, it's difficult to know what to believe. On the other hand, this is a war, and there's likely deception coming out from both sides.

Yet there's something to be taken away from this raid into the heart of the Hezbollah terrorist stronghold. If nothing else, raiding deep into the enemies territory and under intense fire capturing prisoners, then escaping without injury to its commandos, is exactly the kind of operation that has given Israel its reputation for military prowess. When compared to the petty kidnapping of two soldiers by Hezbollah in a cross-border incursion, especially when the act ocurred out of the blue, not during a high state of readiness, shows a stark contrast between real military expertise and the "hollow" antics of Hezbollah's terrorist "fighters (sic) who hide among women, children, and old men. Once again, Israel has demonstrated that it can strike anywhere, anytime, and is likely to do so when it's least expected.

We shouldn't be surprised to see much more of the same, and where ever Nasrallah is hiding, he might do well to catch the next flight out of Lebanon, back to Tehran - if, of course, the Israelis ever have a mind to allow a plane to take off from Lebanon's pot-holled runways.

Update: The IDF says that this is only one of many such operations that have ocurred during the present conflict, and that more are to come... (and what hasn't been reported in the media is that the 5 captured men were in a building 5 km. from the hospital)

Related:
Michael Totten sees "Some Small Encouraging Signs"
Pajamas Media has a MidEast news roundup.

Posted by Richard at August 2, 2006 9:21 AM



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