Jul 17, 2006

4-tier Israeli offensive at the halfway mark

Abraham Rabinovich reports that the Israelis have planned a 4-tier plan of attack against Lebanon that will culminate in the use of ground troops.
Military correspondents with access to senior military officials say that in the first stage -- which began shortly after Hezbollah raiders seized two soldiers on Wednesday -- Israeli warplanes attacked missile caches throughout Lebanon, particularly those housing long-range missiles.

Fifty caches, some hidden underground and some in private homes, reportedly were destroyed, a military briefer told reporters yesterday. It is not clear what percentage of the 13,000 missiles known to be in Hezbollah hands that accounts for.

At the same time, artillery pounded Hezbollah positions and command posts from the Israeli side of the border. In this first stage, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also bombed the Beirut airport and imposed a sea blockade to impress upon the Lebanese government the consequences of failing to stop Hezbollah from attacking Israel from southern Lebanon.

In the second stage, which began early Friday, warplanes attacked the heart of Hezbollah's power, destroying high-rise buildings in southern Beirut that house the organization's command structure and the home of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.


The third and fourth stages are secret. However, the operational plan calls for each stage to be more powerful than the previous one, said the correspondents, who appear to have received detailed briefings.

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