Fighting Moves Deeper into Lebanon

The current front: Hizbullah capital Bint Jbel, just six kilometers north of the Israeli border, where a fierce battle is currently raging. Several soldiers hurt, many terrorists killed.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 10:02

The battle for Bint Jbel, which is considered the capital of Hizbullah, and nearby villages began last night. Bint Jbel lies 12 kilometers due north of Israel's Mt. Meron.

Nine soldiers were reported lightly wounded in the course of the fighting early this morning, apparently by a bomb or grenade. In addition, the forces met up with fierce Hizbullah fire, and the Israel Air Force is covering the ground forces. Several terrorists have been killed, and two have been taken captive.

The IDF had just barely completed taking over another Hizbullah stronghold, Marun a-Ras, which lies five kilometers southeast of Bint Jbel. Seven soldiers were killed in three days of battles in Marun a-Ras. Based on lessons learned there, the current thorough IDF advance is slower than last week's offensive.

The IDF has attacked 270 targets in Lebanon over the past day. Among them were nine long-range Katyusha launchers in the city of Tyre, 20 kilometers north of Israel along the Mediterranean coast. Katyushas have been fired at Haifa and environs in the past from Tyre. Ten tall buildings in southern Beirut were also bombed.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem this evening (Monday), after a quick stop in Beirut. She will meet first with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and Foreign Minister Tzippy Livny, and afterwards with PA Chairman Abu Mazen. Rice is not expected to withdraw American support for Israel's offensive, but will discuss the option of stationing a multi-national force in southern Lebanon. Olmert said last night he would agree to this idea, though he specified that the participating forces must be of European Union member states.




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