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Liveblogging the War: Wednesday July 26th

In southern Lebanon , the battle continues, with IDF exchanging fire with Hizbullah terrorists in the village of Bint Jbeil. A number of IDF soldiers have been wounded.


For their part, Hizbullah are still firing Katushas at Israel, with 5 barrages landing in Tiberias and Safed this morning. And their leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, threatened that they would begin firing rockets deeper into Israel, south of Haifa, which would place more of us in harm’s way. 


The main news overnight, though, was the UN base incident, in which the IAF struck a UN base in southern Lebanon, killing 4 UN Observers. Israel apologized for the incident, and promised to launch a thorough investigation. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan continued to show his one-sided handling of this conflict by accusing Israel of striking the site deliberately, prompting Israel’s UN ambassador Dan Gillerman to respond:

“I am shocked and deeply distressed by the hasty statement of the secretary-general, insinuating that Israel has deliberately targeted the UN post,” he said, calling the assertions “premature and erroneous.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, Danny Ayalon, was even more blunt, demanding that Annan apologize to Israel for his “scandalous” comments.


On the southern front, approximately 50 IDF tanks moved back into northern Gaza overnight in a new operation titled “Samson Pillars,” designed to stop terrorism and rocket barrages at Israel. Also, the IAF struck terrorists spotted firing an RPG at troops, killing 7 palestinians, 2 of which were Hamas terrorists. The IDF also took over rooftops of several houses in northern Gaza, and Israeli aircraft struck several houses of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists after warning the people to leave. And on the subject of warning people to leave, the palestinian phone company claimed that more than 1,000 residents of the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis received recorded messages from Israel, warning them not to hide weapons or shield militants.


Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)


Thursday updates here.

10:58PM: According to a poll, 70% of Lebanese residents support the capture of IDF soldiers by Hizbullah.

10:55PM: I just saw Kofi Annan on television, claiming that people were ignoring the fact that he said Israel’s attack on the UN post was apparently deliberate.

Like that makes his statement much better?

10:00PM: Lebanon’s Prime Minister is going all John Lennon on us, asking that we give peace a chance.

Fuad Siniora told a news conference that Israel could only hope to live in peace and security through good relations with all of its neighbors.

One way to achieve that, he said, would be to renew discussions over Shaba Farms, a small, disputed territory between the two nations.He seems to forget that Israel has been trying to give peace a chance since her establishment. But besides this, we withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, in full compliance with UN resolution 1559, and all we wanted in return was peace and quite in the north. He also seems to forget that we were not required to withdraw from the Shaba Farms, which is not considered Lebanese territory.

In any event, the Shaba Farms is not the issue. The issue is that Hizbullah and the other terrorist organizations want to destroy us.

9:18PM: One of our soldiers wounded in today’s fighting has described the heroism he witnessed.

Sergeant Ram Boneh, 20, from Hadera, who was wounded Wednesday in fierce battles between Hizbullah and the IDF at Bint Jbeil, said he saw many act of courage during the rescue operation to retrieve the casualties, which took place under heavy enemy fire. ‚ÄúSoldiers went in to get their friends; they didn’t think a bullet could hit them, and they gave their all for one another,‚Äù he said.

And a warning to Hizbullah: IDF morale is great.

When asked whether morale plunged after casualties were incurred, the sergeant answered: “You’d be surprised, but even after a day like today, morale was soaring. We must not be discouraged. I want to leave here and go back there. Just let me out of here so I can go back to my friends. We’re going to win big.”

8:50PM: As I suspected, the Israeli media have followed suit and reported the deaths of our soldiers. But they have reported the death of 8, not 9. For now.


8:20PM: My wife surmises that a possible reason why the international mainstream media are reporting that at least 9 soldiers died today, and the Israeli media are not reporting any such deaths, is because the IDF does not announce the deaths to the media until the families have been notified. But the international media may have reporters who saw the dead firsthand.

We may have seen a similiar thing two days ago, when the Israeli media reported that the chopper pilots were injured, but other sources suggested they were killed. Later in the day, the Israeli media confirmed they had been killed.

Let’s hope Fox and company got it wrong.


6:45PM: Lebanese President Emil Lahoud has said that he supports Hizbullah “because they liberated our land.”


6:41PM: The IAF has struck a vehicle belonging to Hizbullah, 3 Hizbullah buildings, as well as headquarters of the Amal terror organization in Lebanon.


6:40PM: The Iraqi Foreign Minister has reportedly told US lawmakers that Iraq will join Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in condemning Hizbullah. This comes after some lawmakers asked him to apologize or clarify his remarks denouncing Israel as the aggressor in the conflict in Lebanon.


6:25PM: Knife-Thrower at the Carnival: The Belmont Club questions the plausibility of Kofi Annan’s accusations by examining previous incidents involving UNFIL.


6:23PM: Elder points out that Fox News have been reporting that 9 IDF soldiers died today, but the Israeli news sites are reporting 30 wounded.


6:12PM: A reader has sent in this picture of a UNIFIL outpost with both UN and Hizbullah flags.


At best, it shows that UN observers have been tolerating Hizbullah, and have done nothing to prevent them from operating near the UN outposts.


At worst, it could show that UN observers have been actively cooperating with Hizbullah.


Now, I don’t know exactly what happened last night, and I certainly do not believe that Israel would deliberately target a UN outpost (on both moral and practical/PR grounds). I’ll leave it to the investigators to ascertain this. I’m just raising the possibility that Hizbullah terrorists may have been operating near the post – with or without the UN observers’ consent – and this might explain wha happened.


6:00PM: So far today, 199 rockets have been fired at northern Israel (compared to 90 fired yesterday), wounding 55 people.


The tally since the beginning of fighting along the northern border is now 1,402 rockets, 19 Israeli civilians killed, and 1,262 wounded.


5:50PM: It looks like Hizbullah have their sights set on Netanya.

A senior Hizbullah official said that the organization has set a new target for itself – the city of Netanya, as reported by the Iranian news agency Fars in Lebanon.


According to the report, Fuad Dirani, commander of the Hizbullah organization, called for the residents of Netanya to evacuate their
houses because “soon the range of our rockets will reach 100 kilometers (62 miles) into Israel and we will attack military installations and infrastructure. The fact that more than two million Israelis have run away from their homes has put pressure on senior officials in Israel.

This would put much more of Israel’s population in the firing line (Netanya has a population of close to 200,000, about 100,000 less than Haifa, which has already been repeatedly hit by Katushas).


5:25PM: Since my last post, the number of IDF wounded from the battle in Bint Jbeil climbed to 30. The wounded soldiers have been evacuated under heavy enemy fire, and it is still unclear what exactly occurred during the battle which led to such a high number, although it has been reported that there was “close-quarter fighting.” 


4:05PM: The number of wounded IDF soldiers from the battle in Bint Jbeil has climbed to 25.


4:00PM: It has been revealed that the Shin Bet arrested a Canadian-Israeli geographer by the name of Professor Razi Salakh, 18 days ago, on suspicion of spying on behalf of the Hizbullah. 


Razi was apprehended as he photographed military installations in the North. I somehow doubt he took these photos merely to use as the backdrop for a postcard.


2:03PM: When the Iranian government is not denying the Holocaust, they are denying other hiding wanted terrorists.

Spokesperson of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hamid-Reza Asefi, denied that the Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah is hiding in the Iranian embassy in Lebanon, reported the Iranian news agency, Irna.

Which means that Nasrallah probably is hiding in the Iranian embassy.


But there’s more:

Asefi also denied what Iranian ambassador to Lebanon said Tuesday in his warning that if Syria is attacked, Iran will aid her. According to Asefi, “The words of the ambassador were not properly understood. It was in reference to diplomatic and humanitarian aid.”

1:58PM: Jacques Chirac opposes NATO leading any international force in Lebanon.

“In our opinion, it is not the job of the northern Atlantic alliance to lead this kind of force,” he said.

The question is, who does he think should be leading this force? Since it would involve more than waving a white flag, I would oppose France for this role.


1:10PM: How’s this for a report?

Egypt won’t go to war with Israel


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared Wednesday at a press conference that his country did not plan on going to war with Israel, regardless of the latest conflict with Lebanon.

Err..I did not know that this was on the table, but thanks for clearing that up for us.


11:48AM: 13 soldiers have been injured today in the battle in Bint Jbeil. And 2 people have been wounded by this morning’s Katusha rocket attacks on Haifa and surrounding areas .


9:14AM: A Kassam fired from Gaza has landed south of Ashkelon.


9:13AM: Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has spoken with Kofi Annan about the UN base incident, expressing Israel’s “deep condolences” for the accidental killing of 4 UN observers, promising a thorough investigtion of the event, and stating it was not intentional.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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