Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Arutz Sheva; Hizbullah Attacks in the North; Two Soldiers Missing

Back in April, Michael Totten wrote “Everything Could Explode at Any Moment”:

The lieutenant was easily ten years younger than me. But he was so ground down from world-weariness he sounded like a man 30 years older who hadn't slept for three days.

“Any minute now something huge could break out," he said. "I am afraid to go home and leave my soldiers. When Hezbollah decides to do something, they do it. And they’re pretty good at it.”

"What do you think they'll do next?" I said.

“I have no idea," he said. "They could do anything. Kidnapping. Sniper.”

See also Part II, On the Rim of a Volcano

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

Hizbullah Attacks Northern Israel; Two Soldiers Missing
17:05 Jul 12, '06 / 16 Tammuz 5766
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz, Ezra HaLevi and Baruch Gordon

Three soldiers were killed, two kidnapped and several injured along the Lebanese border in a multi-pronged attack by Hizbullah terrorists on IDF positions Wednesday morning.

Lebanon's Al-Manar television station claimed that the two soldiers were taken captive by the Hizbullah attackers. Al-Manar is the on-air mouthpiece for the Lebanese terrorist group. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera also reported that Hizbullah attackers struck Israeli military outposts, taking captive two IDF soldiers at around 8:30 Wednesday morning. An IDF spokesperson later confirmed the reports of the missing personnel.

With information of the kidnapped soldiers, air force planes took to the air, striking bridges and escape routes in southern Lebanon in an effort to prevent the Hizbullah from taking their Israeli captives deeper into enemy territory.

Around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, explosives and mortar shell attacks by Hizbullah on IDF positions, patrols and civilian targets along the Lebanon-Israel border injured at least eleven people and facilitated the kidnapping of two soldiers. An IDF spokesperson said that one of the injured was in serious condition as a result of attacks on two military vehicles. Those injured were ferried by helicopter to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa and to the hospital in Nahariya. Residents of the northern town of Shlomi were ordered into bomb shelters shortly after the first explosions were reported.

Unconfirmed, but reliable, sources say that seven Israelis were killed in the Hizbullah attack.

Details of the incident indicate that an army tank hit a land mine or a roadside bomb, trapping soldiers inside, in addition to a Hizbullah mortar shell that struck two Hammer jeeps. Rescue efforts were delayed because of fears that the area was mined with more explosives planted by the terrorists.

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz stated that "the period of quiet" has ended for Hizbullah in Lebanon. Military sources said that the Israeli retaliation to the Hizbullah attack and apparent kidnapping of IDF soldiers will be extremely strong.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "These are difficult days for Israel and its citizens," adding that there are forces trying to test Israel's resolve. "They will fail and will pay a heavy price for their deeds," said the prime minister. He spoke to reporters Wednesday morning, as he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is visiting the region.

In reaction to events along the Lebanese border and to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) called on the government Wednesday morning to carry out a "war in Lebanon and Gaza to destroy terrorist organizations." MK Eldad said that the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the Hizbullah attacks this morning "again prove that it is impossible to run away from terror."

Also see:

Haaretz on the kidnapping.

Jerusalem Post: PM Olmert declares Hizbullah attack 'act of war' by Lebanon

YNet: Right-wing parties seeking emergency gov't:

War atmosphere in Israel, and as on the eve of 1967 Arab-Israeli war calls being made for national unity government; 'I'm not dealing with this at the moment,' Olmert says

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