In the biggest Israeli incursion by ground troops so far in the war,
Hezbollah strongholds have been attacked by air, land and sea by 2,000 Israeli troops Saturday. Israel has taken over control of a large village in Southern Lebanon, although the Lebanese are denying it (who do you believe, me, or your lying eyes?)-this indicates that the exploratory skirmishing phase is drawing to a close and the major operation to clear out Hezbollah is beginning.
A lot of you expressed skepticism in a recent entry I wrote, where I said that Hezbollah's total destruction is at hand; I think Israel is not playing around, and Hezbollah's hour is at hand. Also, Israel knocked three Lebanese TV stations off the air, including Al Manar, and severed some cellphone links with other countries in the region. Not playing around. If the Israeli military doesn't intend to fully wipe out Hezbollah on the battlefield, they're sure acting exactly as if they're preparing to do just that. I'll be watching and cheering.
ON THE ISRAEL-LEBANON BORDER (AP) - Israeli tanks and hundreds of troops moved in and out of Lebanon on Saturday, taking over a village, entering a U.N. observation post and engaging Hezbollah militants by land, sea and air as part of the country's limited ground campaign.
The soldiers - backed by artillery and tank fire - took control of the large village of Maroun al-Ras, military officials said on condition of anonymity.
That included a group of Israeli tanks, bulldozers and personnel carriers that knocked down a border fence and entered the area Saturday afternoon. The equipment and about 25 soldiers raced past a U.N. outpost and headed into the village, where other Israeli soldiers already had control.
Gunfire could be heard from the village, and artillery based inside Israel also was firing into the area.
UPDATE: Ousted. Routed.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli troops have ousted Hizbollah guerrillas from the key southern Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras after several days of fierce fighting, ground forces commander Major-General Benny Gantz said on Saturday.