Israeli forces moved into Lebanon on Wednesday after the terrorist group Hezballah, which operates in southern Lebanon, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers—a move Israel has labeled an “act of war.”
“The events this morning are not terror attacks, but actions of a sovereign state that attacked Israel for no reason,” said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “The Lebanese government, of which Hezballah is a member, is trying to destabilize regional stability. Lebanon is responsible and it will bear responsibility.”
Ground, air and navy troops all launched an attack on southern Lebanon for the unprovoked attack. The Israel Air Force struck a bridge and several infrastructures (picture) inside Lebanon. Lebanese media reported that at least two Lebanese residents were killed in one of the strikes.
Israel confirmed the kidnapping of two soldiers, one a reservist and the other on compulsory service. The kidnapping took place under heavy fire in a coordinated attack when shells were fired at an Israel Defense Forces jeep.
Hezballah offered to release the three kidnapped soldiers, including Corporal Gilad Shalit abducted by Hamas terrorists near Gaza two weeks ago, in exchange for the release of thousands of prisoners that would include Lebanese prisoners being held by Israel.
Olmert has scheduled an emergency meeting with the Security Cabinet to approve the continuation of the operation in Lebanon.
“There is an axis of terror and hate, created by Iran, Syria, Hezballah and Hamas that wants to end any hope for peace. The world cannot let them succeed,” said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. “In these circumstances, Israel has no alternative but to defend itself and its citizens. We also expect the international community to act. We will fight back, in order to fight for peace.”
Meanwhile Palestinians in Gaza rejoiced at the latest kidnapping. “We are not alone,” chanted residents who took to the streets of Gaza to revel in the Israeli misfortune. Lebanese residents also took to the streets after the kidnapping was reported, handing out sweets, which is an Arab custom.