Hang on, with the apparent GO for IDF, things will be happening pretty fast. Here's the latest.
Hezbollah did not wait for the official UN Security Council announcement on a ceasefire and launched its own media campaign declaring it had 'won the war against Israel.' In the latest video aired on Al-Manar TV the terror group says it defeated the invincible army and July-August 2006: Legend shattered.
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed on Friday that the government has given the green light for army to widen its operations in southern Lebanon and to capture the territory south of the Litani River, officers confirm. If the word for the IDF to continue the offensive is true, this may become obsolete fast. But then the offensive has been on again and off again so many times that I will wait and see. However, it initially looks like it is a GO.
IDF officials admit that the biggest surprise of the ongoing war against Hizbullah is the ease by which terrorists have destroyed IDF tanks. At least 30 tanks have been totally destroyed or seriously damaged in bomb and anti-tank rocket attacks involving state-of-the-art Russian anti-tank rockets. About one-half of the military personnel killed in southern Lebanon were inside tanks.
Diplomatic Efforts Appearing to Stall
Once again, diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting appear to be coming unraveled. However, Olmert is so determined to get out from this war that he is even willing to allow Hezbollah to remain armed and negotiate the release of the captured IDF soldiers at a later date.
Hezbollah running out of supplies
"Many Hizbullah cells hiding in southern Lebanon are coming out, most likely because their food and water resources have been depleted. As a result, there are many clashes between them and IDF forces in all arenas," he said. According to the officer, IDF forces operating in the areas struck six Hizbullah cells in recent days. The IDF has done a good job at isolating the battlefield if this is the case. If Hezbollah cells have expended their supplies of food and water, it is unlikely that they are getting ammunition / rocket resupply either.
IDF Ground Offensive
This may become obsolete quickly if things get going again. The front has been relatively quiet with the exception of the area round Marjayoun. I suspect IDF is attempting to consolidate positions in preparation for a potential continuation of the attack. The most severe fighting continued around Marjayoun, an important hub just north of Israel's Galilee panhandle that juts into Lebanon.
Late reports yesterday (long after I posted the Special for that day) indicate that there are additional axis of attack that my other sources didnt fully identify. These have been mostly confirmed from open sources and troop concentrations prior to the aborted ground campaign. Todays map shows the approximate new positions base upon the additional information with Wednesdays starting positions.
The first additional axis of advance is in the west with a push towards (and eventually along) the coast. It is currently stalled in the vicinity of Shama and Majdal Zun. It is still not clear as to the extent of IDF penetration northward from the border here. It is suspected that the goal of the advancement along the coast is to neutralize launching sites around Tyre. The grain of the terrain is east to west, so the quickest way would be to get to the coastal plains and move north rather than cross country.
A second major axis has occurred north of Bint Jubayl reaching the vicinity of Tibnin, about 14 km south of the Litani. This axis could have been the source of the report late yesterday that the IDF had pushed to about 12 kilometers (roughly 8 miles) into Lebanon about 10 kilometers away from the Litani River.
Another axis of advancement that has been better confirmed is the westward one from the Kafr Kila area to Al Qantarah. This push could be used to secure crossing sites of the Litani and provide access to the plateau area in the vicinity of Zawtar ash Sharqiyat and eventually the town of Nabatiye a source of short to medium ranged rockets.
There is another unspecified attack along the Saluqi Wadi, located just west of the depicted eastern (northern) sector. This Wadi runs north south. I am evaluating if this is a real axis of advance or just westward push from established IDF positions.
It appears that there are two main pincers, one pushing westward along the Litani, and one along the coast. However, the coastal one appears at the moment to be bogged down, so the central advance is carrying the day with a general westward advance from the east to capture Hezbollah in the southeastern area of Lebanon. IDF officials have also said they have government approval to attack farther north to deny other rocket launching areas.
Theyve continued to attack select targets. Nothing beyond what has now become common.
Hezbollah launched another barrage of more than 150 rockets yesterday. Rescue workers said seven people in the port of Haifa were injured by shrapnel.
Terrorists Had "Go" Order for Mission
The conspirators in the foiled terror plot to blow up jets heading to the U.S. from the U.K. reportedly had a "go" order.
The Guardian newspaper cites unidentified British government sources as saying they intercepted a coded message earlier this week, after the arrests of suspects in Pakistan. The message said "Do your attacks now."
A U.S. congressman, who also asked not to identified, said he has been told U.S. intelligence had intercepted terrorist chatter as well.
Big thank you for the summaries Godzilla. Israel/IDF needs to finish this fight now, not later.
THANKS for the map and summary Godzilla.