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      Israel Hits 200-km. Range Missiles, Many Still Remain

      Hizbullah's claims that it had downed an Israeli war plane Monday were negated when it became clear that it was actually Israel that had hit a Hizbullah missile launching truck.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 7/18/2006, 2:07 PM / Last Update: 7/18/2006, 10:36 AM

      Israel is well aware that Hizbullah has rockets that can reach deep into central Israel, as military officials have said. Most specifically, Iranian-supplied Zelzal missiles, with a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles), can hit the Tel Aviv/Gush Dan region and even further south. Northern Tel Aviv is 120 aerial kilometers south of the Israeli-Lebanese border, while Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh are within 150 kilometers of the border.

      Residents of Tel Aviv and environs continue to be instructed to “stay alert” and prepare to take cover within a minute if a warning siren sounds.

      Israel has so far bombed 15 short-range missile launchers, and a number of longer-range launchers. Army sources say that the number of longer-range missiles fired at Israel have decreased over the past number of days.

      Among the missile sites bombed on Monday was a mobile one carrying a number of Zelzal missiles. The incident caused a stir, in that the flaming object seen in the sky afterwards unleashed Hizbullah boasts that it had downed an Israeli jet.

      No one in Israel could categorically deny this claim immediately. The best that could be done was Defense Minister Amir Peretz saying it was highly unlikely that an Israeli jet had been hit. After it was found that all Israeli jet and air force personnel in Lebanon were accounted for, the possibility was raised that a canister containing leaflets to be dropped on Lebanon was hit. Finally, IDF officials explained that one of the powerful Zelzal missiles hit by the Israeli bombs actually rose towards the sky and exploded.

      IDF Northern Region Commander Gen. Alon Friedman said today that the offensive will last several weeks, and that Katyushas will probably continue to be fired at northern Israel over the coming days. A massive call-up of reserves will not occur, he said, but noted that a limited number of reserve units are being enlisted "in order to give the IDF some breathing room."