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IAF Has Hit More Than 1,000 Targets in Lebanon

IDF Chief of Operations, Major-General Gadi Eizenkot, said Tuesday that the air force has taken the lead in the war against the Hizbullah terrorists, striking over 1,000 targets.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 7/18/2006, 9:47 PM / Last Update: 7/18/2006, 11:17 PM

Maj.-Gen. Eizenkot revealed that more than 180 Katyusha and longer-range rocket launch sites have been hit by IAF planes, in addition to strategic targets in Lebanon such as the Hizbullah headquarters in southern Beirut.

"Over the course of the last 24 hours, very successful attacks have continued, especially those of the air force, but also other units, by land and by sea, in Lebanon," Eizenkot said.

IAF planes on Tuesday destroyed four trucks that entered Lebanon from Syria, thought to have been carrying military supplies for the Hizbullah. Maj.-Gen. Eizenkot told reporters on Tuesday that Israeli planes are continuing to target trucks coming into Lebanon from Syria smuggling ammunition, weapons or related supplies.

In reaction to the new tactic of the Israeli air force targeting trucks used in smuggling weapons, the Lebanese government has suggested that truck drivers in the country drive without the standard canvas covering on their truck beds. This would allow Israeli pilots to differentiate between innocent cargo and deliveries of Syrian missiles, according to Lebanese officials.

On Tuesday night, IAF planes dropped thousands of notices over Beirut mocking Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. "Where are you hiding?" asked the flyers. Earlier in the day, the IAF again bombed Nasrallah's Beirut home. He is thought to be staying in an underground bunker, where he has been for more than a week.

During a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, military intelligence officials noted that the Hizbullah may also deploy air-borne capabilities, through the use of explosives-laden unmanned drone planes sent over the border towards Israeli cities. The type of drone assumed to be in Hizbullah hands can carry 40 kilograms of explosives and support a Global Positioning System for delivery of its payload.

IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz noted the difficulty of preventing the launch of such a drone, which could theoretically make its way dozens of kilometers into Israeli airspace before being detected. However, Lt.-Gen. Halutz also noted that the drone payload is less than that carried by Hizbullah rockets that have struck Israeli cities thus far.

In November of 2004, a Hizbullah drone successfully entered northern Israeli skies and took surveillance photos before crashing. It was possibly the second such incursion from Lebanon.