Archive for the ‘battle’ Category

Israel hopes Iran and Hezbollah get message of Gaza offensive

January 18, 2009
The pounding of Hamas, Israeli security officials say, is a blow to Iran, which backs both the militant group and Shiite militia Hezbollah. But they also brace for possible retaliatory attacks.
By Sebastian Rotella
Los Angeles Times
January 18, 2009
Reporting from Jerusalem — In declaring a cease-fire Saturday in Gaza, Israel asserted that it had achieved its goals: hurting Hamas’ military wing, discouraging rocket fire into Israel and cutting the flow of smuggled arms into Gaza. But Israel had a broader goal: sending a tough message to its arch-enemies Iran and Hezbollah.

Israeli leaders say the pounding of Hamas dealt a blow to Iran, which Israel accuses of backing the Palestinian group, and to Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon that fought Israel to a stalemate in 2006.

Protest in Iran 
Women at a Tehran stadium last week hold portraits of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. Hezbollah declined to get involved in the Gaza conflict, despite entreaties by Hamas. Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images

“The operation proved again the power of Israel and improved its deterrence against those who threaten it,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

Nonetheless, as Gaza quiets down, Israeli security officials acknowledge that the wider conflict could escalate, as it plays out in secret skirmishes in the Middle East and beyond.

For months, Israeli intelligence services have girded for a possible attack overseas intended to avenge the assassination last year of Imad Mughniyah, a Hezbollah warlord who was close to Iran. Israeli security officials say the threat has intensified as the Gaza bloodshed converges with the anniversary next month of Mughniyah’s death, for which Hezbollah blames Israel.

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Israel Poised for Long Campaign in Gaza; Learned From Failure in Lebanon

December 29, 2008
Before launching attacks on Hamas in Gaza, the Jewish state carefully prepared a list of targets, and it has kept its tone more modest than it did before attacking Hezbollah in 2006.
By Richard Boudreaux
The Los Angeles Times
December 29, 2008
Reporting from Jerusalem — As they prepared for lightning airstrikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Israel’s leaders drew sobering lessons from their stalemate against another Islamic paramilitary force, Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas.

In that setback in the summer of 2006, Israel rushed to battle without a detailed plan or realistic goals, and was handed its first failure to vanquish an Arab foe in war. Hezbollah not only withstood the 34-day offensive, but it also emerged stronger politically.
Faced with frequent Hamas rocket fire across its southern border, Israel planned its Gaza operation more meticulously, over nearly two years. As a result, Israeli officials said Sunday, their intelligence services developed a longer list of targets to bomb, enabling the air force to inflict more damage on the militant Palestinian group before Israel contemplates a risky ground assault.

And instead of boasting that they would “destroy” the enemy, as they did in the case of Lebanon, Israeli leaders set the more modest aim of “improving the security” of terrorized Israeli communities.

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Israeli special forces 
METICULOUS PLANNING: Israeli army special forces are deployed at the Gaza Strip border. Israel mapped out the operation for nearly two years.  Photo: Uriel Sinai / Getty Images


Israeli warplanes struck a broad array of targets in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Sunday, hitting a security compound, a mosque, the Islamic University, a television station and a network of smugglers’ tunnels along the border with Egypt as Hamas fired fresh volleys of rockets into Israel. The Palestinian death toll approached 300 after two days of violence, making this the deadliest operation in Gaza since Israel seized control of the coastal territory from Egypt in 1967.

Israeli officials said that they were prepared for an extended campaign in Gaza, possibly including ground forces, and that the goal is to break Hamas’s military capacity. “We will continue to attack as long as they fire,” said a senior Israeli military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Israel’s military, he said, intends to pressure Hamas to the point where the Islamist movement either “runs out of will or runs out of capability to launch more attacks.”

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Rockets Rain Down on Israel: Preparing For Gaza Battle?

December 22, 2008

Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis under rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, with the apparent aim of preparing world opinion for possible stepped-up action by Israel‘s military.

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer

Rocket fire by Gaza militants has spiked in recent days, and public pressure for an Israeli response has grown. Israeli leaders have consulted, discussed contingency plans and are now trying to prepare foreign governments for the possibility that the military could move beyond air strikes against militants and act with more force — even possibly sending ground forces into the territory controlled by the Islamic group Hamas.

There was a lull in militant fire Monday. Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said his group was holding its fire for 24 hours in the hope that Israel would allow in humanitarian aid.

Israeli diplomats are meeting with their counterparts and decision-makers abroad as part of their new effort, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“People abroad perhaps do not understand the real distress of Israelis in the south who live with the rocket threat. Then you wake up in the morning with an Israeli response and you don’t understand where it came from,” Palmor said.

Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border ...
Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Monday, Dec. 22, 2008. Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis living under increasing rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, in a step aimed at preparing world opinion for a stepped-up response, or even a ground invasion, by Israel’s military.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel Called on “Brink of War”

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