Sorry I’m late to this today. Fox is reporting three large explosions in the city. An IDF officer told Haaretz this morning that it was coming:
A senior General Staff official told Haaretz that the IDF is planning to bomb Hezbollah headquarters in a densely populated area of south Beirut on Friday.
The IDF said it has dropped leaflets warning civilians of the impending attack and that many of them have left the Shi’ite Dahiya quarter of south Beirut, where thousands of people live in multi-story residential buildings.
“We will atack more significant targets than we have attacked until now,” the officer said.
Updates on the way…
Update: I hope Olmert’s not writing checks he can’t cover when he says that the operation will continue until Hezbollah is disarmed. I love that he’s using a UN resolution as justification, though. Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., hit the same note this morning during the UNSC’s emergency session.
The text of Resolution 1559 is here:
The Security Council,…
Mindful of the upcoming Lebanese presidential elections and underlining the importance of free and fair elections according to Lebanese constitutional rules devised without foreign interference or influence,…
3. Calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias
Update: Fox just broke in to say that Sheikh Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, is believed to have been in the building when the IAF hit it — and that the building has collapsed. Can that be? Wouldn’t Nasrallah have gone to ground days ago?
Israel threatened to kill him as recently as yesterday.
Update: An amazing moment at the Security Council session as Gillerman accuses the Lebanese ambassador of secretly being on his side:
Addressing the council, Mr Gillerman said the Lebanese government had brought the Israeli actions on itself, by allowing Hizbollah to remain armed and keep de facto control over southern Lebanon, enabling it to cross the border to seize two Israeli soldiers.
He told Lebanon’s special envoy, Nouhad Mahmoud: “You know deep in your heart that if you could, you would be sitting here right next to me right now because you know that we are doing the right thing and that if we succeed, Lebanon would be the beneficiary.”
He’s not blowing smoke. Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon’s Druze population, has urged Israel not to bomb Beirut — but he’s a bit more agnostic on attacking Hezbollah’s stronghold in the south. Says Jumblatt:
“[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah does not obey the government of Lebanon. We (in the government) don’t agree with his acts. But we cannot in Lebanon force him to accept any resolution unless he accepts it himself,” said Jumblatt, speaking to the WorldNetDaily and ABC Radio’s John Batchelor on Batchelor’s national radio program.
The Lebanese government is looking to capitalize while Hezbollah is under the gun:
Since the fighting with Israel started Wednesday, calls for Hezbollah to relinquish its weapons have gathered urgency…
[I]n meetings Thursday, Lebanese officials began to lay the groundwork for an extension of government control to southern Lebanon…
“To declare war and to make military action must be a decision made by the state and not by a party,” said Nabil de Freige, a parliament member… “It’s a very simple equation: You have to be a state.”
After a cabinet meeting Thursday, the government said it had a right and duty to extend its control over all Lebanese territory. Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said the statement marked a step toward the government reasserting itself.
Anecdotal evidence suggests they have popular support.
Update: CNN says Hezbollah TV — yeah, they have their own channel — is reporting that Nasrallah is fine. The building, however, has gone bye-bye.
Update: Hezbollah TV is broadcasting a message from Hezbollah, although it’s not clear if it’s live or taped. According to CNN’s translator, he says, “If you want an open war, you’ll have an open war.”
Reader Eddie G. e-mails to ask how CNN can be airing this when Hezbollah TV is banned in the U.S. From what I saw, there was no actual audio of Nasrallah; the only sound you heard was CNN’s translator. Is that enough of a distinction? Not sure.
Update: Speaking of open war, Michael Oren, author of “Six Days of War,” opines in WaPo:
[I]n countering Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel has little choice but to strike at those who authorize the attacks: the heads of those organizations. Both Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza and Hasan Nasrallah in Lebanon appear indifferent to their own people’s safety…
By contrast, punishing the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples collectively, as Israel has been doing, only strengthens their support for terror while creating painful ethical problems for Israelis. And negotiating with the terrorists for their hostages’ release merely encourages them to kidnap more Israelis…
Israel has no realistic option but to convince [state sponsors of terror] that the price of promoting aggression is prohibitive. If Israeli soldiers and civilians are the targets of Iranian- and Syrian-backed terror, then the Iranian and Syrian militaries must become targets for Israel.
Update: An unmanned aerial vehicle loaded with explosives crashed into an Israeli ship a little while ago, severely damaging it.
Where did Hezbollah get a UAV from?
Hezbollah fired a missile at a second Israeli ship a little while ago — but the attack didn’t go quite as planned. It hit a boat, but the boat wasn’t military.
And it wasn’t Israeli, either.