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Hezbollah kidnaps 2 IDF soldiers during clashes on Israel-Lebanon border

by Haaretz (reposted)
Guerillas from the militant Hezbollah organization kidnapped two Israel Defense Forces soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border Wednesday morning, in the midst of massive shelling attacks on Israel's north.

The soldiers were snatched when guerillas attacked two IDF armored Hummer jeeps patrolling along the border with gunfire and explosives. Other soldiers inside the Hummers were wounded.

The IDF on Wednesday afternoon sent troops across the border to search for the missing soldiers, marking the first incursion into Lebanon since the withdrawal in May 2000.

Army Radio reported large numbers of troops, as well as aircraft, were taking part in searches on the Lebanese side of the border.

According to Channel 10, the IDF later said that it had lost all hope of retrieving the abducted soldiers with ground forces.

Hezbollah said Wednesday that its guerrillas had destroyed an IDF tank attempting to cross the border into Lebanon.

The IDF also ordered troops deployed on the Lebanon and Gaza borders on high alert in the event that armed groups may attempt to fire Katyusha and Qassam rockets into Israel.

Immediately after the Hezbollah attack, the organization's Al-Manar television station began broadcasting clips calling on Israel to release Lebanese prisoners held in Israel in return for the soldiers.

The group in particular emphasized the release of Lebanese militant Samir Kuntar, jailed in Israel since a 1979 attack in the northern town of Nahariyah, in which he entered an apartment and murdered three family members and an Israeli police officer.

Al-Manar also broadcast video clips of previous Palestinian and Lebanese attacks on IDF troops.

by BBC (reposted)
Lebanese guerrillas have captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, triggering the first Israeli incursion into the country since 2000.

Planes struck outposts of the Hezbollah militant group in south Lebanon, as well as roads, killing two civilians.

Israel has called up reserve troops, signalling a large-scale campaign, as operations continue to free a soldier seized by Palestinians in Gaza in June.

Israel's PM Ehud Olmert said the attack was an "act of war" by Lebanon.

Mr Olmert has said he holds Lebanon responsible for the fate of the two soldiers and that it would pay a "heavy price".

The prime minister has called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss further action, although he has already ruled out negotiations.

"The Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a part, is trying to shake regional stability," he said at a press conference in Jerusalem.

"We are already responding with great strength," he said, threatening "very painful and far-reaching" action.

Soldiers' search

Israeli ground troops have entered southern Lebanon to search for the two soldiers, for the first time since Israel ended its occupation of south Lebanon six years ago.

by Haaretz (reposted)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday declared that Hezbollah's attack on the northern border earlier in the day, during which two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were kidnapped, was "an act of war."

The two were seized as rockets were fired at northern towns, during residents took to their bomb shelters.

Olmert, who was to hold an emergency cabinet meeting later Wednesday, said the attack was not an act of terror but an attack by a sovereign state on Israel.

by Haaretz (reposted)
The attacks by Hezbollah guerillas on northern Israel, in which two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were captured and the town of Kiryat Shmona came under rocket fire, drew international condemnation Wednesday, with widespread calls for the immediate release of the soldiers.

Syria, however, said that Israel had brought the attack on itself, by "provoking" the Palestinians and Lebanese.

Britain denounced the attacks, which it said would "further escalate an already tense situation."

by Haaretz (reposted)
On the 18th day since the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, the picture has become all the more complex. From limited fighting on a single front (the Gaza Strip), the Israel Defense Forces is now approaching what might evolve into a near outright war on two fronts.

This is the most complex crisis Israel has faced since Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, when Israel successfully curbed Hezbollah's bid to spark a confrontation on the northern border in response to the IDF occupation of West Bank cities.

The winning formula for resolving the crisis consisted of military actions combined with diplomatic pressure.

In some respects, however, the situation now is even more complicated than in 2002, because terror groups are holding three soldiers captive: Gilad Shalit in the Gaza Strip, and two other soldiers who were captured Wednesday morning on the northern border.

The attack on Israel's northern border was an impressive military achievement for Hezbollah and a ringing failure for the IDF. Despite Israel's intelligence analyses and despite wide operational deployment, Hezbollah has succeeded in carrying out what it has been threatening to do for more than two years - and it couldn't have happened at a more sensitive time.

Israel has until now responded with restraint by bombarding bridges in central Lebanon and attacking Hezbollah positions along the border. But considering the nature of the military high command's current evaluation of the situation, it is clear that the IDF is interested in inflicting a much sharper blow on Lebanon.

by The Devil (George Warmonger Bush)
The Devil (George Warmonger Bush): "Sorry to Oil the Arming of Irgun Zvai Leumi / Likud Extremist in IsraOil and the Invasions of the Gaza Strip and South Lebanon but Oil Comes First. Fill her Up ??????"
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