Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hizbullah Attacks Israel

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Iranian-backed terrorist group Hizbullah attacked northern Israel from Lebanon yesterday:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that the Hizbullah attack was an "act of war" and not terror. During a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Wednesday afternoon, he called it an unprovoked assault by a sovereign nation and held Lebanon, where Hizbullah has a minister in the government, fully responsible.

"Israel's response will be restrained but very, very, very painful," Olmert added.

The Defense Ministry confirmed early Wednesday afternoon that two IDF soldiers had been kidnapped by Hizbullah. IDF ground troops had been sent into Lebanon to search for the two. IAF jets, helicopters and UAVs were also flying above Lebanon searching for the soldiers. Simultaneously, Navy gunboats and artillery along the border were shelling Hizbullah targets in Lebanon.

The army has destroyed 17 targets as well as Hizbullah outposts and three bridges since the beginning of the operation.

Just so we're all clear. Hizbullah launched a major attack against a sovereign nation and kidnapped two soldiers. They are now holding at least one of those who is alive. They will not adhere to the Geneva Convention protocols while holding this soldier. The UN will not condemn this act but will instead blame Israel (Update: the UN did exactly as expected)

Is that clear enough?

Update: The Hamas spokeman has some words from a safe house somewhere:

Abu Obeideh, spokesman for Hamas' military wing, issued an unusually strong condemnation of the attack, using language employed only when Israel has assassinated top Hamas leaders. "We will make the leaders of the Zionist regime regret this Nazi crime," said part of his long statement.

Update 2: The NY Times has a bleeding heart piece on displaced Gazans. The main interviewee supported the incursion into Israel that resulted in the kidnap of a soldier and now is crying about the shelling and evacuation he has to endure:

In Shuka, Mr. Edbary said he supported the raid into Israel that captured the soldier, and thought Israel should be willing to negotiate some form of prisoner exchange.

“At least Israel should release the women and children prisoners of ours that they have,” he said. “It’s shameful.”

Does he think his government bears some responsibility for the troubles he now has? Mr. Edbary’s eyes wandered. “I don’t care about politics,” he said. “I care about our dignity.”

Perhaps he should place the blame where it belongs--at the feet of Hamas leadership.

The Times should be ashamed of the story they've published. (Cap'n Ed has more)

Update 3: This is full on war. Reports say IDF paratroopers were dropped in Beirut and an all-out airstrike has been authorized. Allah is updating constantly.

Israel is holding Lebanon and Syria accountable.

Update 4: Israel may declare war tonight. The question is against whom. I imagine Lebanon and quite possibly Syria. As Euphoric Reality notes, the US will have to back Israel and the Arab nations will back Lebanon and Syria. Egypt and Jordan will condemn Israel but will act as peace brokers in concert with the US.

But what about Iran? They've been the primary moneymen for Hizbullah for 20-years. Will Israel take this opportunity to take out the Iranian nuke sites?

Update 5: The US calls out Syria and Iran. Found at this great round-up at Blogs of War.

Update 6: Debka is reporting that Iran and Syria are gearing up:

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.

Update 7: Israel nearly gets a big fish.

Update 8: The Palestinian Foreign Ministry building is taken out.

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