Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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IDF Says Hizbullah Border Posts Destroyed in Sunday Clashes

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Israel managed to destroy most of the permanent military positions that Hizbullah had set up along the northern border in the clashes on Sunday, the heaviest fighting since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon six years ago.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 28, 2006, several Katyusha rockets were launched from Lebanese territory towards Israel. The rockets hit an IDF base in northern Israel, lightly wounding an IDF soldier and causing damage to the base.

In response, the IDF carried out an aerial attack on two command posts used by terror organizations in Lebanon, one of which was also used as a storage facility for weaponry and ammunition.

In the afternoon Hizbullah launched a large scale attack on communities and military posts situated along the border with Lebanon. Hizbullah attacked with sniper fire and machine gun fire and launched Katyusha rockets and mortar shells at Israeli targets. Israelis went into shelters to protect themselves from the rocket barrage. An IDF soldier was severely wounded in Kibbutz Manara during the attack.

In response to this unprovoked attack on Israel, the IDF returned fire on outposts and additional Hizbullah targets along the Lebanese border, with both aerial attacks and artillery fire.

"Our main effort was to destroy the frontline that Hizbullah has built in the last six years," Colonel Gal Hirsch said.

"We destroyed most of them," he told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Hirsch said he has seen many Iranian Revolutionary Guards in southern Lebanon. "Hizbullah is a wing of the Iranian effort to create a frontline against the West," he said, noting that Iranians train and supply Hizbullah fighters.

Hirsch said the IDF had been ready for a Hizbullah attack. "We were waiting for them for weeks," he said.

Hizbullah is facing mounting international pressure to disarm itself in accordance with UN decisions 425 and 1559. The Foreign Ministry said that the attack on Sunday is an attempt by the organization to escalate the situation along the northern border.

Some analysts connected the fighting to tensions that rose after a senior official in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was killed in a car bomb in the southern Lebanese town of Sidon on Friday. Israel has denied involvement but many Palestinians and Lebanese did not accept the denials.

Israel has urged the Lebanese government to disarm militias and send regular troops to the south, but the government has refused. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel has "no intention" of causing an escalation in tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border.

At the request of the Lebanese government, United Nations peacekeepers brokered a cease-fire early Sunday evening between Israel and Hizbullah.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "We do not want any of our civilians to be hurt; we also do not want any innocent Lebanese civilians to be caught up in these exchanges of fire. But I can say here that we will — without any doubt — strike a painful blow at all those who try to disrupt life in the north of the country."

The State of Israel said that it holds the Lebanese government responsible for all attacks emanating from its territory, and called upon the Lebanese government to act without delay to implement the UN decisions in this matter.


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