Israel’s war with Iran’s proxy army, Hezbollah, widened this weekend with a deadly missile strike against Haifa’s rail-yard that killed eight Israelis and wounded many more. In addition to a hit on Tiberius Friday, a radar-guided, Iranian made missile torn into an Israeli warship 16km off the Lebanese coast minutes after Hezbollah announced it would hit a ship. The radar guided anti-ship missile killed four Israeli sailors. Another radar guided missileâ€”with a range of 110km â€”hit a freighter and sunk it 60km off the Lebanese coast. Israeli jets pounded Beirut, and flattened the Hezbollah headquarters and dozens more targets.
Hezbollah is itching for an Israeli invasion, so they can use the booby-trapped corridor to Beirut to exact a high toll on Israel. They would also count on widespread civilian support. Israel’s Defense establishment has used graphic language to describe their planned destruction of Hezbollah, but is it possible without sending in troops? Last time Israel sent in commandos from the sea, Hezbollah turned them back, killing several. An aerial drop behind lines would leave soldiers vulnerable till ground reinforcements arrive. Hezbollah is not likely to give up its weapons unless Iran or Syria steps in, unlikely at this juncture. This leaves Israel’s response to continued aerial bombardment.
Israel should be insisting on Red Cross access to the two soldiers taken captive and help evacuate American and EU residents stuck in the Lebanon. They should demand that Lebanon arrest Hezbollah’s leadership, but perhaps this is too late, as this could have been a demand before the war began.
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