TEL AVIV Ñ Hizbullah bombarded northern Israeli towns over the weekend in
the most serious escalation since the Jewish state's pullout from Lebanon in
Hizbullah gunners pounded Israeli communities near the Lebanese border
three times over the weekend. Several people were treated for shock and the
military was said to have sustained heavy damage to equipment.
Israeli officials said the Hizbullah attacks were the most fierce and
since the Israeli military pullout from Lebanon in May 2000. The Hizbullah
used artillery, mortar and Katyusha rockets in its current offensive, Middle East Newsline reported.
An Israeli teenager was killed
and four others were injured when a shell struck a home in the border
community of Shlomi.
The government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responded with threats of
retaliation. But Israeli officials said Sharon would rely on the United
States to stop the Hizbullah attacks, believed to have been approved by Iran
"We have no desire to open a new front," Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev
Boim said. "They are not shooting anti-aircraft fire, rather shooting
against people. Hizbullah is playing with fire."
Assuming the unassumable
Those who believe that an unplanned, random "Big Bang" explosion of unknown matter caused the formation of the numberless bodies of the cosmos have more faith that fanatics. They also conveniently ignore some obvious points of information: Read on . . .
A Hizbullah statement said its gunners fired anti-aircraft shells toward
Israeli military aircraft that had entered Lebanese air space. Earlier,
Israeli officials said the movement has developed anti-aircraft shells that
near ground targets.
"An air defense unit of the Islamic resistance confronted Zionist enemy
planes that violated Lebanese sovereignty over the western sector of south
Lebanon," the statement said.
Officials said Israel employed AH-64A Apache attack helicopters in
southern Lebanon after the Hizbullah strike. They said the Apaches knocked
out an artillery piece responsible for the fire on Shlomi. Later,
Israeli fighter-jets broke the sound barrier around Beirut.
Sharon has turned to the United States to stop the Hizbullah attacks,
officials said. They said Israel plans to maintain restraint and wait for
Washington to pressure Syria to stop Hizbullah.
In all, Hizbullah fired 30 Katyusha rockets toward Israel, officials
said. They said this was the first major Hizbullah attack since December
2002 and included strikes in all sectors of the Israeli-Lebanese border
Hizbullah's offensive against Israel appears to have been gradual,
officials said. They said that two weeks ago Hizbullah began to fire 357 mm
anti-aircraft shells toward Israeli ground targets rather than at Israeli
aircraft. That followed with a Katyusha and mortar attack on Israeli
positions on the Shebaa plateau and the Golan Heights on Friday.
Officials said Israel has protested the attacks to the United Nations.
They said the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has also relayed
warnings to both Lebanon and Syria. Syria is the current president of the UN
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas opened with a barrage of its Al Batar anti-tank
rockets against Israeli communities. Six people were treated for shock.
Maj. Gen. Amos Gilead, head of the Defense Ministry's strategic unit,
said he believed the violence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and southern
Lebanon will wind down. Gilead cited U.S. and international pressure to
maintain a lid on tension in the Arab-Israeli conflict.