Israel at War 22 July

IDF Operations in Southern Lebanon:

Israel Defense Forces ground troops were operating in southern Lebanon on Saturday, in the Meron A-Ras region, to detect rocket launchers and underground bunkers where Hezbollah militants are holed up.

IDF troops uncovered several anti-tank missiles and several surface-to-surface missiles Friday night during an operation in the village of Marwaheen. They also found a machine gun, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, and ammunition.

The Israel Air Force continued its bombardment Friday night and Saturday morning in Lebanon.

IAF jets hit TV transmission towers on Saturday in Lebanon, knocking the nation’s leading private network off the air and cutting phone links to some regions.

Fighter bombers fired missiles at transmission stations in the central and northern Lebanese mountains, leaving antennas burning on the ground.

This is not the “invasion” that has been predicted for the last couple of days. This is as it is described by the Israelis as a small scale incursion to capture or destroy Hizbollah weapons and deny the terrorists the ability to communicate and coordinate their attacks.

Hizbollah Rockets continue to rain down

Ten people were injured Saturday morning as 65 Katyusha rockets landed across the north of Israel.

In Israel’s northernmost city of Kiryat Shmona, six people were lightly injured as approximately 26 rockets landed in and around the city.

Fourteen Katyushas landed in Nahariya.

Carmiel was hit by 13 rockets, and one person was moderately injured and another lightly injured in direct strikes on their homes. Rockets also landed in Safed, Rosh Pina, Ma’alot, the Golan Heights, and the northern Galilee panhandle. Six rockets landed in open areas in Haifa.

Alerts were sounded in Acre, Tiberias, and several northern towns and villages to warn residents of possible rocket strikes.

U.S. rushes precision-guided bombs to Israel

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Citing U.S. officials who spoke on Friday on condition of anonymity, the Times said the decision to ship the weapons quickly came after relatively little debate within the administration, and noted in its report that its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others who could perceive Washington as aiding Israel in the manner that Iran has armed Hezbollah.

Envoy: Israel will not hold talks with Hezbollah via third party

Israel told a visiting UN mission that it will not negotiate with Hezbollah through third parties, as in the past, for the release of its captured soldiers, a UN envoy told the Security Council on Friday.

In their conversations with top Israeli officials, “it was stated that the Israeli captives must be unconditionally released and that, this time, Israel was not prepared to negotiate with Hezbollah through third parties, which in the past had led to prisoner exchanges,” envoy Vijay Nambiar said.

IDF Nablus raid targets Al-Aqsa militants recruited by Hezbollah

The Israel Defense Forces launched a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, believing that Hezbollah-backed militants were preparing to carry out attacks across the country, a military source said on Saturday.

The IDF destroyed a Nablus government compound where Israel believed the militants, members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades recruited by Hezbollah, were holed up.

“There were Hezbollah operatives in the building who were told by their leadership in Syria and Lebanon to send out attackers across Israel. That is why we were in such a hurry to get them,” the military source told Reuters.

US Diplomatic efforts will focus on strategy for confronting Hizbollah and its supporters in Tehran and Damascus

WACO, Texas (AP) — President Bush said Saturday that his administration’s diplomatic efforts in the Mideast will focus on strategy for confronting Hezbollah and its supporters in Syria and Iran.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to depart for the region after an Oval Office meeting on Sunday with Bush and Saudi officials.

Bush said he has directed Rice to discuss with Mideast leaders how best to end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The chief U.S. diplomat will not meet with Hezbollah leaders or their Syrian backers.

Gaza Groups Agree to Stop Firing at Israel

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Militant groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to stop firing missiles at Israel at midnight Saturday, senior Palestinian officials said.

The unilateral cease-fire is aimed at ending an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began June 28, three days after militants raided an Israeli army post, killing two soldiers and capturing a third, 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the officials said on condition of anonymity because the agreement was reached at a closed meeting.

THis is an interesting and positive development, When the Palestinians include the return Cpl Shalit, there is something there to build on…

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