Israeli leaders decide to concentrate on air attack - - Columbia, South Carolina

Israeli leaders decide to concentrate on air attack

(National-NBC) July 27, 2006 - Israeli leaders said Thursday they have decided not to mount a major invasion of Lebanon. They've got White House approval for another option, trying to destroy Hezbollah from the air.

Bombing and shelling will cost more civilian lives than a ground war, but at the White House, President Bush agreed that Hezbollah has to be destroyed as a terrorist threat.

Israeli tanks are in position to strike deeper into Lebanon, but the Israelis say they'll hold off on any invasion, and deny it's because of setbacks. Shimon Perez, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister says, "Despite the propaganda, Hezbollah is losing ground."

But the day after nine Israeli soldiers were killed in a firefight with Hezbollah just inside Lebanon, the Israeli command decision is to rely on shelling and bombing.

President Bush is still giving Israel a green light, "And now is the time to address the root cause of the problem, and the root cause of the problem is terrorist groups trying to stop the advance of democracies."

On tape today, number two in the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, called on all Muslims to launch attacks in support of Hezbollah.

The White House implied that Bin Laden's group is reduced to cheerleading. Spokesman Tony Snow says, "Al Qaeda's military capabilities have been significantly degraded, and everybody knows that."

Worse than degraded, is Lebanon. In southern Beirut, there was a search for survivors in the rubble.

Outside aid is just starting to arrive. Much of Lebanon is bombed out and deserted with years of rebuilding wasted.

Many Lebanese are furious at the Israelis. President Emile Lahoud says, "They're not going to be able to take out the weaponry of Hezbollah, so all they're doing is massive destruction."

But with Hezbollah still firing rockets and still a potent fighting force, Israel soldiers want more than just captured Hezbollah flags, they want Hezbollah beaten.

President Bush approves. He said Thursday that what he called a "fake" ceasefire won't work.

Posted 9:19pm by Chantelle Janelle

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