Fighting continues at Bint Jubeil Thursday after Israel suffered its greatest loss of men in one day Wednesday

The Israeli cabinet was asked to broaden the campaign against Hizballah with more ground troops, fire power and direct air strikes on Hizballah-held villages in South Lebanon.
Wednesday, July 26, Israel lost nine officers and men in clashes with the Hizballah in Bint Jubeil and an area closer to Maroun er Ras. Another 4 soldiers were injured, altogether 26, five seriously, on the deadliest day of the 15-day war in South Lebanon.
debkafile reports the Olmert government is stunned by the IDF’s setbacks in South Lebanon and the rising casualty figures. Senior ministers cannot agree whether to send in more troops to reinforce the units battling the Hizballah.
Army chiefs complain that the government is hampering the military performance by setting impossible conditions.
Another 4 soldiers were injured, altogether 26, five seriously, on the deadliest day of the 15-day war in South Lebanon.
debkafile reports the Olmert government is stunned by the IDF’s setbacks in South Lebanon and the rising casualty figures. Senior ministers cannot agree whether to send in more troops to reinforce the units battling the Hizballah.
Army chiefs complain that the government is hampering the military performance by setting impossible conditions: The war’s objectives have not been clearly set out to IDF leaders and the prime minister and defense minister are holding back permission to raise the level of fire power and troop numbers in line with campaign requirements. Hizballah, they say, organizes its deployment to meet Israeli government decisions that should be kept secret. The army informed the ministers that Wednesday, July 26, Tehran permitted Hassan Nasrallah to start shooting rockets at the area between Netanya and Tel Aviv.
debkafile‘s military sources add: The generals conducting the offensive in South Lebanon are also under fire. There are insistent calls for Chief of staff Lt. General Dan Halutz to draft Israel’s more experienced generals to appointments over the heads of the generals in the field. One name mentioned is that of Maj-Gen. (res.) Gaby Ashkenazi, former OC northern command, who has had long experience of Hizballah and its tactics.
In the Yom Kippur war of 1973, a former chief of staff, the late Haim Bar Lev, was took charge of the field command on the Sinai front.
The initial investigation of what went wrong in the Bin Jubeil battle that ended Wednesday night showed that the Israeli force did not take control of the small town of 20,000, as reported, but left the northern approaches open and unguarded. A Hizballah reconnaissance team discovered the gap and deduced that the Israeli force had decided not to advance further north to the Litani River. The Hizballah force waiting at Banduriya to block that advance was turned around and re-entered Bint Jubeil to mount a counter-attack on the scattered IDF positions. Reinforcements from the surrounding villages boosted the Shiite force to 500 men armed with Sagger anti-tank missiles and mortars.
They battled Israeli troops from early morning until late Wednesday night, concentrating their fire on Israeli tanks and APCs from a distance of 2-3 kilometers.

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