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Israeli Troops & Tanks Start Push To Litani River In Southern Lebanon

Their Mission Is To Drive Hezbollah Out Of Katyusha Rocket Range Before Cease- Fire Goes Into Force

Prime Minister Olmert

When Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared there is no cease-fire, IDF ground forces had started a push to the Litani River in southern Lebanon. Olmert served notive that he is determined to drive Hezbollah out of Katyusha rocket range.

Israel ground forces have begun a push to the Litani River in southern Lebanon. Their mission is to secure a line some some twenty kilometers north of the Israeli border.

In keeping with Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts declaration about no cease-fire, IDF troops and tanks are moving deeper into south Lebanon. They will try and drive out the Hezbollah guerrillas from the border area. It is from here that Hezbollah has showered northern Israel with thousands of rockets. Hezbollah has created its own state within Lebanon by building military positions and underground bunkers as staging bases for attacking Israel. Defense Minister Amir Peretz calls it a forward position for Iran right up to the Israeli.

Also taking part in the IDF operation are troops from three reserve divisions that have been called up. The U.S. is working for a sustainable peace to go along with a cease-fire. However, there is mounting international pressure for an immediate truce. Israel has rejected this approach saying Hezbollah will simply start another round of fighting in the future. Moreover after killing and kidnapping IDF soldiers and bombarding Israeli population centers with Katyusha rockets, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah would then claim victory. But the tragic Israeli air strike in Qana has accelerated calls for a cease-fire.

Hezbollah Terrorists

By rooting out the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the IDF is now doing the U.N.s job. And unless the guerrillas are expelled an international force will never be able to maintain peace and quiet in southern Lebanon. Two years ago, Security Council Resolution 1559, called on the Lebanese government to dismantle the guerrillas and and send the Lebanese army to police the border area. Knesset Member Danny Yatom, a retired Israeli general says, it is a strategic must to clear out the area but he also cautions that Hezbollah may launch 400 or 500 hundred rockets a day at Israel just before any cease-fire goes into force.

Although there is a wide consensus in Israel to continue the campaign against Hezbollah, not all Knesset members agree. Yossi Beilin of the left-wing Meretz party says its a mistake to launch the ground operation.



David Essing

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