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Ground Push Imminent as Hizballah Rockets Fly

As at least 19 civilians are wounded in Haifa in yet another Hizballah barrage on the Israeli port city, Israel is stepping up its warning to civilians in south Lebanon to leave the southern areas immediately. After over a week of hammering Hizballah positions since the northern front opened, it appears the IDF rolling into Hizballah territory is the next logical option.

Israel has pushed the bulk of the rocket launch points to the edges of their artillery range, as limited incursion operations utilizing IDF Special Forces close to the Lebanese-Israeli border sought equipment, positions and terrorists to either destroy in place or spot for artillery fire and/or airstrikes. Yet, the barrages into Israeli cities – targeting their civilians – continue. Though fewer from on the border, many rocket launches still occur – over 1,000 since the onset.

Israeli artillery is up on the border and increasingly using rocket aided projectiles and other technology to reach their range limits, an indication that the artillery will have to move forward soon to continue to engage the targets they are after. This, coinciding with yet another 5,000 IDF reservists mobilized after three battalions earlier in the week intended to shift active troops from West Bank to the northern border, indicates a likely imminent ground push.

That the three reserve battalions were not sent north in preference of the active duty battalions in the West Bank is important. It indicates Israel’s acknowledgement of priority, with the West Bank far down the list. But, most significantly, it is in recognition that the fight with Hizballah will be bloody, ugly and face-to-face – a fight unseasoned reservists are not as mentally prepared for. IDF officers are reporting that Hizballah tunnels - often leading under homes in villages – are being encountered by Special Forces troops crossing into Hizballah territory. It is territory very familiar to its Hizballah inhabitants but quite new to IDF forces. The advantage in guerilla warfare always goes to force that owns the terrain, and because of this, the upcoming battles will be up close and personal. IDF commanders know that they will need the best they have and do not expect light casualties. battle must be fought or victory and endless civilian rocket attacks are ceded to the terrorists.

As IDF troops stream north and mass along the Lebanese border, Nasrallah emerges alive and promises more rockets and “more surprises.” It should be considered that many believed that Iraq’s WMD and other weapons weredeposited in Hizballah’s Bekaa Valley, including the head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, James Clapper Jr.