debkafile reports: First elements of new Israeli ground offensive push deeper into Lebanon Wednesday night – before the official 48-delay for dipl

The security cabinet`sdecision Wednesday by 9 votes, none against and 3 abstentions, includes areas up to the Nabatea plateau and Arnoun beyond the Litani River. The object of the extension is to reach and eliminate Hizballah`s rocket-launch centers. It deepens Israel`s thrust to some 45 km from the border and calls for a further large influx of army reserves.
The ministers who abstained were Dep. PM Shimon Peres, Labor’s Ofer Pines and Shas leader Eli Yishai.
debkafile‘s military sources add the extended operation does not promise the total stoppage of all rocket fire against Israel, but could potentially bring about a sizeable reduction from up to 200 a day to some 30 or 50.
Despite massive Israeli aerial strikes and ground operations in the Tyre region in the west, Wednesday, Hizballah fired a series of long-range Khaibar-1 missiles from there which reached Haifa, Beit Shean, Afula, Zichron Yaacov and Jenin.
Hassan Nasrallah went on the air Wednesday night to scotch international efforts to halt the hostilities by diplomacy: He warned the Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora against giving an inch to American demands for a multinational force to be deployed in South Lebanon.
Siniora accordingly informed the US official David Welch that his government would only accept a Lebanese force plus UNIFIL to police the south.

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