Breaking: Israel attacks Lebanese army (Update: Hostages being moved to Iran?) (Update: Hezbollah attacks Haifa) (Israeli ambassador: “War”)

posted at 10:29 am on July 13, 2006 by Allahpundit

By bombing an air base near the Syrian border, says the AP. If this was Israel versus Hezbollah yesterday, it’s Israel versus Lebanon now.

Captain Ed calls the whole campaign a blunder and accuses Olmert of targeting the symptoms instead of the disease. I agree entirely.

Lots of updates coming, but in the meantime chew on this very brief video clip from CNN late yesterday afternoon. Wolf Blitzer can’t seem to connect the dots; Lou Dobbs obligingly helps him out.

Update: An echo of Dobbs — in the New York Times?

The Times also fingers a culprit in the kidnappings. And it ain’t Syria:

An Arab intelligence officer working in a country neighboring Israel said it appeared that Iran — through Hezbollah — had given support to Mr. Meshal to stage the seizure of Corporal Shalit. The officer said the Shalit case, even before the capture of two more Israeli soldiers, amounted to Hezbollah and Iran sending a message: “If you want to hurt us, there are tools that we have and that we can use against you.”

Israeli intelligence officers and analysts say they believe that the message is primarily Iran’s, acting through Hezbollah and Mr. Meshal.

Bill Roggio, meanwhile, tosses out a name so shadowy and sinister as to border on myth: Imad Mughniyah, the Hezbollah arch-terrorist who allegedly masterminded the Marine barracks bombing in 1983 and dozens of other high-profile attacks. Sez Roggio:

Mugniyah has extensive links with the Iranian intelligence services, and has been directly linked to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and recently deceased al-Qaeda in Iraq commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Mugniyah is on FBI’s list of 22 most wanted terrorists, with a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to his capture. U.S. Special Forces aborted a raid to capture Mugniyah in the Persian Gulf in 1996. He was believed to have visited Syria in January of 2006, attending a meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Assad.

Update: Now we’re really on the brink: according to Fox, Israel’s foreign minister says Hezbollah is trying to move the kidnapped soldiers — to Iran. IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said earlier that they know the two are still alive, and that they hold the Lebanese government “completely responsible.” Update: Israel National News has a short brief about Iran.

Update: According to Reuters, the IAF has hit two Lebanese air bases. Israeli warships have also blockaded Lebanon’s ports. Lebanese ministers are calling for a ceasefire, and some among the anti-Syrian faction are blaming Assad and Hezbollah for the escalation.

Update: Hezbollah pounded several Israeli towns with rockets overnight, injuring at least 90 people. Targeted villages include Safed, Karmiel, and Nahariya, where some residents packed up and left. Hezbollah is promising to target Haifa if Israel attacks Beirut. Meanwhile, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claims that the rocket warfare from Lebanon and Gaza will be coming soon to the West Bank as well.

Jordan has advised them to reconsider.

Update: Haaretz confirms that two Lebanese air bases were hit. There were no injuries — the goal is to take out the runways to enforce a total blockade and prevent the kidnappers from leaving with the hostages.

Update: Just great: an Israeli terrorist group claims to have kidnapped two Palestinians in Jerusalem and says it won’t release except in exchange for the three Israeli soldiers.

Update: An IAF airstrike yesterday in Gaza almost — but not quite — killed indestructible Palestinian master bombmaker Mohammed Deif:

The [strike] killed a Palestinian family of nine — including seven children… Deif could end up paralyzed, Palestinian security officials said on condition of anonymity. Wednesday’s blast marked the army’s fourth attempt to kill Deif. In a 2002 missile strike, he lost an eye.

Update: The UN is on its way.

Update: MEMRI notes that Iranian rhetoric about escalating the violence against Israel has, coincidentally, been abundant lately. Er, isn’t it always?

Their point is well taken, though: “It is possible that the escalation on Israel’s borders, set off by elements supported by Iran – Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria – is meant to take the pressure off Iran by triggering a major military clash in the Middle East, which will divert international attention from Iran’s nuclear program.”

Update: CNN just broke in to say that Haifa has been hit by Hezbollah rockets. The correspondent calls it, correctly, a “major escalation.” Haaretz has a headline up about it too. Fox says the streets of Beirut are nearly deserted as people take cover in anticipation of the Israeli response.

JPost explains the significance: “For the first time ever, a rocket launched from Lebanon landed in Haifa. The launch represented the farthest a rocket had ever reached into Israel.” Two rockets thus far.

Update: You’ve got to be kidding: Hezbollah denies that it fired the rockets that hit Haifa. Update: I took this to be Hezbollah’s feeble attempt to accuse Israel of a false-flag operation but Judith Weiss suggests a vastly more frightening possibility.

Update: Fox just broke in to say that the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. has been quoted as saying, “Israel is at war.”

Update: Fox broke in to say that the Beirut international airport is being bombed again. They might be shooting at more than just runways this time.

Update: What’s the very last historical analogy you want to hear used at a time like this?


“I was a lunch with the Israeli Ambassador to the US when he announced that a Hezbollah rocket hit Haifa – the gasp from the crowd was an audible recognition of the major escalation that the attack represents, in part because it wasn’t clear beforehand whether the rockets had sufficient range. I would draw a parallel to the 1914 Sarajevo shooting of Archduke Ferdinand, which ultimately led to World War I,” said the Counterterrorism Blog’s Andrew Cochran, in a post earlier today.

Update: Things are getting hairy in Beirut now. Fox reported a little while ago that the IAF was targeting fuel depots at the airport. The navy is attacking it too. Now Ynet says a suburb of the city, reputed to be a hive of Hezbollah, is under attack.

Update: Fox elaborates on the Israeli ambassador’s remarks:

The mid-evening attacks are the latest in an escalating tension that Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, is referring to as a “war.”

“Israel’s objective is to win this war,” he said Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington.

Update: At Lebanon’s request, the Security Council will hold an emergency session for tomorrow.

Update: Imagine a world without Israel. It’s easy if you try, and if you’re a dKos diarist.

Update: Israel’s defense minister is vowing to “break” Hezbollah, a fine goal but one he’ll never achieve so long as the Syrian and Iranian regimes crawl on.

Meanwhile, John Bolton has exercised his very first veto as U.S. ambassador to the UN.

Update: Israel isn’t buying Hezbollah’s denial of responsibility for the attack on Haifa. The IDF is claiming the rocket came from … Iran.

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No, I think Olmert is doing the right thing. Capt. Ed says:

A free and democratic Lebanon could be an ally to Israel, or at least not an enemy. They could eventually have a relationship similar to that of Jordan; not exactly friends, but not at all enemies. Why toss that away in a misdirected rage?

Iraq. Is it something we threw away in a misdirected rage? Or is it a nation we had to break to take it out of the hands of homicidal lunatics? Iraq had it’s Baathists, Lebanon has Hezbollah.

Further, Lebanese military capacity currently exists to be used against one entity only: Israel. Olmert has every reason to break it.

So, what Lou Dobbs said. War against radical Islamic terrorists. It’s about time Israel got in that fight.

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 10:42 AM

I also agree that Israel is doing the right thing. Lebanon’s ambassador was called back to Beiruit saying that he supported Hizbullah. On the other hand, other officials inside Lebanon’s government say they oppose Hizbullah. Seems like the perfect opportunity to now kick Hizbullah out of Lebanon and back to Syria (or the grave) for good and the officials who support them.

moonsbreath on July 13, 2006 at 10:58 AM

If you watch Blitzer’s profile carefully, you can see his jaw move slightly as Lou answers. He’s specifically lipping “STFU, Lou, you righteous rightwing douche.”

Hoodlumman on July 13, 2006 at 11:06 AM

Sign That Crisis Is Regional, Not Just Israel vs. Palestinians

It’s even bigger than that. It’s one war, all the way from Bali to Lower Manhattan.

Pablo on July 13, 2006 at 11:13 AM

I think Israel can and should attack any Muslim nation it feels like. Based on the motives and doctrines of Islam (i.e. kill/enslave all Jews), it would by definition be an act of defense.

JamesVersusEveryone on July 13, 2006 at 11:19 AM

Supposedly there is intel that the captured Israeli soldiers were being transfered to Iran. This is getting bad.

JVelez on July 13, 2006 at 11:24 AM

Can someone explain to me what the deal is with the Lebanese government? Are they puppets for Iran or are they democratic??

JVelez on July 13, 2006 at 11:34 AM

Lebanon… democraticly elected puppets of Syria and Iran… Last guy who tried to really make a change got himself blown up…

Problem is that the government is afraid of the armed militias, like Hezbolah, who hold large parts of the country. Add in support from Syria and Iran, and you have a recipie for chaos.

Romeo13 on July 13, 2006 at 11:42 AM

Can something like this be the motive? Israel is luring Iran to strike before it has its nukes. It may be the last chance to destroy them and the Syrians. It’s a mighty gamble; Israel can’t be 100% sure that the USA would unlease the terrible swift sword to save them.
This sounds very cynical, but I think Israel is actually doing us a favor by forcing the matter while it’s still curable.
Damn, but those jews have balls! God bless that valiant nation.

dhimwit on July 13, 2006 at 11:43 AM

I think it’s more likely that Iran is using “Palestine” and Hizbullah as a distraction. Hamas and Hizullah are both puppets of Iran. Will it work? Who can say. What I do know is that the U.S. cannot afford to waver in its support of Israel. Israel is doing the right thing now. And we need to keep our eyes on the prize- i.e. making sure Iran doesn’t meet its nuclear ambitions.

kaseiryu on July 13, 2006 at 12:10 PM

I’m afraid dhimwit is right; it looks like WW3 is unavoidable and it might be better to get it over with now before certain lunatics acquire effective nuclear capacity. Hopefully, we can restrict a lot of it to striking at the lunatic leaderships and the terrorist groups themselves, leaving the general populations out of it as much as possible.

Mike O on July 13, 2006 at 12:22 PM

Update: The UN is on its way.

Whew! Glad this is over.

Hoodlumman on July 13, 2006 at 12:28 PM

Did World War III just start?

Are witnessing the 21st century equivalent of the Japanese marching into Manchuria and the Germans ‘absorbing’ the Rhineland?

I’m beginning to wonder. I wonder what textbooks will say in 100 years.

Hope I’m way off track.

Professor Blather on July 13, 2006 at 12:35 PM

I’m afraid things could get really ugly. Nuts, bombs, and Islamic extremists don,t mix well. People will get hurt.

Shmo on July 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM

The UN is useless. The UN has become our enemy. I wish it were not so, but the evidence sure points in that direction.

It’s become the mouthpiece for islamic interests worldwide. The sooner it is disbanded and kicked out of the US, the better.

techno_barbarian on July 13, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Those are some badass Hebrews weilding American military might. They can take care of themselves quite well, as they’ve proven time and time again.

Now, if Iran gets into this, all the better. We’ll probably get involved at that point and any Iranian nuclear capabilities are sure to be blown to Allah in the process.

Better start this war off now, rather than later, as no one else (including our commander-in-chief) has the cojones to deal with Iran effectively.

Now, if we can just lure North Korea into this and take out there military as well…then my yet-to-be-born kids will have a much safer world in which to live.

BirdEye on July 13, 2006 at 12:56 PM

Professor Blather:
I think 1914 is nearer to us than 1939. Funny how they both started with a terrorist act against somebody in a military uniform.

dhimwit on July 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM

Dear Lebanon
The following response is the fault of Hezbollah and Syria
Sorry for the inconvenience
The Israeli Air Force

Defector01 on July 13, 2006 at 1:27 PM

“It is possible that the escalation on Israel’s borders, set off by elements supported by Iran – Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria – is meant to take the pressure off Iran by triggering a major military clash in the Middle East, which will divert international attention from Iran’s nuclear program.”

If they really believe this, Hezbollah and Iran are as stupid as they are evil. It is not going to “divert international attention;” it is going to be the perfect excuse to wipe out Iran’s nuclear program unilaterally with air strikes once and for all. It is going to “divert international attention” from the inept Security Council.

januarius on July 13, 2006 at 1:29 PM

BirdEye, don’t count North Korea out. They may want to involve themselves by sending a missile into Japan. We all know how they hate to be left out of all the fun. The one I’m also curious about is Hugo Chavez. He has been trying his best to create an (anti-U.S.) alliance with North Korea and Iran. The new axis of evil is taking shape before our eyes.

As for Russia and France condemming Israel’s response, they should shut their mouths. Russia is one to talk about overreacting. Aren’t they the same ones that go all out in responding to any action done against them by militants? For crying out loud, their military is all over Chechnya anytime anything happens. If the kidnapped soldiers had been Russian, I think they would have pulled out the Red flags and gone Soviet on the Middle East.

France is just being France. They love to hear themselves talk, but when the punches (in this case, bullets) start flying, they raise the white flag and open their arms and homes to any and all that want to take over their country. Then, after the U.S. has saved them (and spent billions in reparations to their country), they blame us for their misfortune because we did not save them sooner.

Rick on July 13, 2006 at 1:35 PM

I feel all warm and fuzzy. The “Useless Nations” have roused from their stupor and staggered forth to the field. We are all now saved. Move along – nothing more to see here.

I am reminded of the scene in RoboCop when the two Titans are in the auditorium getting ready to lock and load again and the company president shouts “Behave yourselves!” just prior to serious shock and awe. Dhimmitude at its best.

Buckle up everyone it is very possible that we are witnessing the beginning of WWIII.

This is ugly and it is only made worse by noncombatants (MSM) running around calling everyone names.

Priest on July 13, 2006 at 1:43 PM

IMO the Islamic Jihad is forcing the issue to make countries declare which side they are on.

If there is not enough support for Israel? They win…

If countries try to stay neutral? They win…

If Arab countries try to help Israel? They run the risk of formenting the Jihadists in their own countries…

And yes…. I do believe this is also being used to take pressure off Iran about Nucs… and its probably working.

Romeo13 on July 13, 2006 at 1:45 PM

Great reporting as usual Allahpundit. Keep it coming.

Also, your thoughts concerning Iran are most likely dead-on. Iran should be careful what it wishes for, in my opinion.

Cary on July 13, 2006 at 2:59 PM

Oil at an all time high! If this means this scumb will be wiped out once and for all, I’ll gladly contribute!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on July 13, 2006 at 3:38 PM

If you want to understand the position of hezbollah in Lebanon, just imagine what it would have been like in the U.S. if the Confederate States had “rejoined” the Union after several years of a bloody civil war, had maintained a separate army, had maintained their slavery, had maintained exclusive control over their territory, and had sent their Representatives and Senators back to Washington to make sure that the federal government didn’t do anything they disapproved of, while taking money and orders from the French government and conducting military operations against Mexico.

secarr on July 13, 2006 at 3:39 PM

Hey if I could spell maybe I wouldn’t have to pirate!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on July 13, 2006 at 3:39 PM

Update: At Lebanon’s request, the Security Council will hold an emergency session for tomorrow.

LOL!!! I’m sorry but this statement has some strong unintentional comedy laced in (as any request for U.N. involvement these day).

Travis on July 13, 2006 at 3:44 PM

DING-DING-DING! Round three begins.

Giving the palis Gaza was a good strategic move. Seperate them from Israelis and make it easier to fight them geographically.

MSNBC is using the term WW3. I don’t know ’bout that but it will be Israeli asswhoppin’ 3. Muslims never learn.

Tony737 on July 13, 2006 at 4:18 PM

Dam the Secuity Council sure is busy…

Chad… Iran… N. Korea… now this… wow…

Its a wonder they get anything done… oh… dam… thats right…

They don’t.

Romeo13 on July 13, 2006 at 4:22 PM

Yeah, hold yer horsies there, MSMbc. Not sure if it’s WWIII as much as it is “Gaza Gone Wild.”

BirdEye on July 13, 2006 at 4:27 PM

With all of the turmoil currently escalating in, around, and against, Israel, I thought that I would re-post the fact that we are seeing Biblical prophecy occuring right before our eyes today! In my former post We Are Witnessing Biblical Prophecy, I shared some Bible verses from Psalms 83:2-8 which were inspired by God and written down by David three thousand years ago! The prediction was that the reborn nation of Israel would be immediately surrounded by enemies, including the Arab nations of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.


Christinewjc on July 13, 2006 at 4:32 PM

Hasn’t it been that way since like ’48 or whatever? My history is a little foggy right now…

BirdEye on July 13, 2006 at 4:54 PM

I always did like the cut of Bolton’s jib.

kaseiryu on July 13, 2006 at 5:03 PM

Wonder if plans are in order for the Israelis to strike the Iranians
Or at the very least if the Mossad has the targeting information to hit the large contingent of Iranian soldiers in Southern Lebanon

Defector01 on July 13, 2006 at 11:05 PM

Iran obviously seems to be coordinating attacks using proxys on Israel. The United States should do the same with Israel.

Israel knows they are the target for nuclear weapons Iran is developing (duh). An excellent way to deal with Iran is to give Israel the weapons and equipment it needs to deal with Iran.

An easy solution for the United States – use OUR proxy to decimate Iran and the only thing we need to do is to provide the weapons – just as the Iranians are doing with Islamic terror groups.

What an opportunity!

omegaram on July 14, 2006 at 1:43 AM

As always, Israel takes out military targets while the muslims fire indiscriminately into civilian areas. At the same time the u.n. tries to blame Israel for the conflict.

Tony737 on July 14, 2006 at 11:44 AM

AP: did you read Friedman’s column today “Kidnapping of Democracy”? Be interested in your take.

honora on July 14, 2006 at 1:18 PM

Alas, no, honora. I don’t have TimesSelect. Do you have a copy of it?

Allahpundit on July 14, 2006 at 1:24 PM

Alas, doesn’t work.

Allahpundit on July 14, 2006 at 1:37 PM