Children of the Sun > Newsday

Yawn, it's the Mid East

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nacho:
But...wait!  Israel just went to war with Lebanon!  Yay!  Finally, some meat in the thin soup of Mid East freak outs.


--- Quote ---Israel sends tanks into Lebanon after Hezbollah attack
Israel: Seven soldiers killed, two captured


JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Hezbollah guerrillas killed seven Israeli soldiers and captured two more Wednesday, prompting Israeli airstrikes and military raids inside southern Lebanon, Israeli officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Hezbollah attacks were an "act of war" by Lebanon.

He promised a "very painful and far-reaching" response, The Associated Press reported.

There have been only sporadic border clashes since Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000 after 22 years of occupation.

Another Israeli soldier was captured last month and is believed to be held by Palestinian militants in Gaza, where Israel has also launched military operations. (Full story)

Hezbollah is demanding a prisoner exchange for the release of the soldiers taken Wednesday. In a later claim on its television network, Hezbollah said it had "destroyed" an Israeli tank crossing into southern Lebanon.

The valleys along the Israeli-Lebanese border thundered with artillery fire and clouds of blue-gray smoke could be seen rising above Lebanese positions.

Israeli forces, observers said, were bombing roads, bridges and guerrilla positions in southern Lebanon in an attempt to prevent guerrillas from moving the troops deeper into Lebanon.

Israeli forces are also responding to rocket attacks fired by Hezbollah into northern Israel, according to the army.

Israeli military sources confirmed a troop buildup on the northern border and said preparations were being made for possible call-up of reserve soldiers.

"This morning there was an attack on civilians and soldiers in the north. At this moment there are Israeli security forces operating inside Lebanon," Olmert told reporters.

"The government will convene this evening for a special Cabinet meeting. I want to make clear that the events this morning are not a terror attack but an operation of a sovereign state without any reason or provocation."

The Israeli Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. (noon ET), according to Olmert's office.

"The Lebanese government, which Hezbollah is part of, is trying to undermine the stability of the region, and the Lebanese government will be responsible for the consequences," Olmert said.

The abduction of the soldiers opens a second front after Israel sent tanks and troops into the Palestinian territory of Gaza following the capture of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, who was taken in a raid on an Israeli military post in southern Israel on June 25.

The militants holding him have demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for Shalit. Israel has flatly refused.

'We will turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years'
Responding to the most recent incident along the Israel-Lebanon border, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said in a statement: "The State of Israel sees itself free to use all measures that it finds it needs, and the [Israeli Forces] have been given orders in that direction.

"If the soldiers are not returned we will turn Lebanon's clock back 20 years," Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to Israeli Channel 10.

Four Israeli civilians and six soldiers have been wounded in the fighting so far, according to the Israeli military.

The IDF instructed citizens in northern villages to take shelter as the violence escalated.

It is the latest skirmish between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, whose forces traded cross-border fire in late May following the assassination of an Islamic Jihad official in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.

Mahmoud Majzoub, also known as Abu Hamza, was killed in a car bombing, which Islamic Jihad blamed on Israel. Israel denied any involvement in the incident.

Hezbollah is designated a terrorist group by the United States and Israel but is a significant player in Lebanon's fractious politics.

Israel set up a security buffer zone in southern Lebanon from 1978 until 2000.
--- End quote ---

Reginald McGraw:
I think his exact quote was "very very very painful"

I wonder just how far Israel could push all of this.

nacho:
Hopefully far enough to make it truly interesting.  Can somebody, somewhere, who looks like us and is adored by the news, please go nuts and start a hair raising war?

Nubbins:
Israel's nuts, man... nuts.

Matt:
I'm starting to believe that World War III is starting up.

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