Israel Bombs Hezbollah Leader’s Beirut Home
Israel has bombed the home and office of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah without, unfortunately, actually making sure he was inside first.
Israel destroyed the home and office of Hezbollah’s leader Friday and tightened its seal on Lebanon, blasting its air and road links to the outside world to punish the guerrilla group — and with it, the country — for the capture of two Israeli soldiers.
Hezbollah’s Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said “You wanted an open war and we are ready for an open war,” addressing Israelis in an audiotape played on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television. The speech apparently was prerecorded and did not refer to the missile attack. Nasrallah and his family were safe after the Israeli missiles demolished the two buildings in Beirut’s crowded southern neighborhoods, the militant group said.
Because, you know, Hezbollah was playing nice before.
Hezbollah hit an Israeli warship in Lebanese waters that had been firing missiles into southern Beirut. Al-Jazeera reported the Israeli military was searching for four missing troops. Israeli officials would not immediately comment; an army spokesman said earlier the ship had apparently been struck by a rocket but that the damage was minor and no one was hurt.
Israel’s attack on Nasrallah underlined its determination to take the fight directly to Hezbollah’s leadership, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed the massive campaign would continue until the guerrillas were neutralized. Warplanes again smashed runways at Beirut’s airport with hours of airstrikes, trying to render it unusable, and destroyed mountain bridges on the main highway to
Syria. Warships blockaded Lebanon’s ports for a second day. Smoke drifted over the capital after strikes exploded fuel tanks at one of Beirut’s two main power stations, gradually escalating the damage to Lebanon’s key infrastructure. Apartment buildings were shattered by strikes in south Beirut.
In response, Lebanese guerrillas fired at least 50 Katyusha rockets throughout the day, hitting more than a dozen communities across northern Israel.
The death toll in three days of fighting rose to 73 killed in Lebanon — almost all civilians, including five killed Friday — and 12 in Israel, including four killed in rocket attacks. The violence sent shock waves through a region already traumatized by the ongoing battles in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas.
There’s not much Israel can do to get international support for their actions here but precision strikes on terrorist leadership are more likely to be seen as legitimate than indiscriminate killing of civilians.