Israeli Army in Race against a UN Ceasefire in Lebanon

Israeli forces are pressing forward with the wide-scale operation against Hizballah which debkafile reports was launched four days ago on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
The campaign will continue until the ceasefire called for in Security Resolution 1701 approved Friday, Aug. 11, is enforced on the ground – if and when that happens.
It is carried forward by four expanded divisions of 11 brigades, about 12,000 fighting men. Head of the Ground Forces Branch Maj.-Gen Benny Gantz is leading the IDF’s South Lebanon command.
The first stage of the new operation has succeeded in its objective of encircling Hizballah’s 1,500-strong force in a large swathe stretching from the Litani River in the north, to Tyre in the southwest.
This tactic follows Israel’s 1982 Lebanon War stratagem of pushing Palestinian forces out of South Lebanon up to Beirut and then holding them to siege.
Now, Israeli troops are pushing Hizballah into the Tyre enclave that also encompasses the Palestinian refugee camps of Rashidiya and Bourj al-Shamali, in order to contain it there. In central and northern Lebanon, Hizballah strength will be left intact with two of its three rocket brigades – medium and long range – for the time being. They will be left to the Air Force to destroy.
In the last few hours, Hizballah’s command and control in the south is showing signs of distress after finding itself cut off from reinforcements and re-supply from the north by the rapid Israeli advances of the last four days.
debkafile‘s military sources update Israel military movements:
The Northern Division: From Wednesday, this division has been advancing north from Israel’s northernmost town of Metulla towards the plain of Nabatea, north of the Litani River, taking the town of Marjayun en route. Early Friday Aug. 11, when Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and defense minister Amir Peretz gave the go ahead for the expanded offensive, the division split in two. One headed north and entered the village of Blat east of the crook in the Litani River – a vantage point for artillery control of the Nabatean plain to the west, and Hasbaya to the east.
The second segment of the Northern Division has been positioned since Thursday on the southern bank of the Litani after capturing Qantara.
For the moment, this division is positioned on a number of hilltops along the river bank with fire control over parts of the Nabatea plain.
Saturday or Sunday morning, these troops should reach the Hardaleh bridge, one of the two linking central Lebanon to the south.
In this part of the front, Israeli troops are fighting Hizballa’s Sector No. 5.
Our military sources report that the Northern Division has encountered little Hizballah resistance in its push north. They are estimated to have gone to ground to await their moment to counter-attack. Local inhabitants in this area are friendly, some even point Israeli troops to possible Hizballah hideouts and arms caches.
Division 162: Since Wednesday, this division under the command of Brig.-Gen Guy Tsur, has been driving north along the eastern bank of Wadi Saluki in the Eastern Sector of South Lebanon up to the Central Sector. Saturday, this division fetched up at Froun village on a hilltop opposite the Litani and west of Taibe and Deir Mimas. This high point affords the division fire control of the Qeaqea bridge, the second most important one spanning the Litani.
The bridge was destroyed by an Israeli air strike at the outset of the war.
This division is fighting Hizballah’s Sectors 3 and 4.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the division commanded by Tsur is now following a westerly route along the Litani’s southern bank up to the Mediterranean coast and a place called Burj el Haoua, which is midway between Sidon and Tyre south of Beirut.
Once in position there, the IDF will be able:
1. To tighten the siege of Tyre from the north.
2. Be ready to cross the Litani and head north of the river if ordered to do so.
Division 91: Under the command of Brig. Gen Gal Hirsch, this division has also been in motion since Wednesday heading west to the Mediterranean coast from a point north of Bin Jubeil. The members of this division fought heavy battles at Ras Baida north of the Israeli town of Rosh Hanikra, and at the villages of Shmaa, Majdel Zun and Mansura south of Tyre. By Saturday morning, this division had managed to stabilize a line south of Tyre from a point north of Bin Jubeil up to Ras Baida, thereby completing the siege of Tyre from the south.
A fourth division operating mostly undercover with special operations units took control Friday and Saturday of sections of the dividing seam between Divisions 162 and 91. This gap covers the war arenas of Qana village, Jouiya and Maarake. This division has been entrusted with tightening the eastern section of the siege enclosing Tyre and preventing Hizballah harassing the flanks and rear of the two divisions.
Late last week, Hassan Nasrallah managed to rush several hundreds of fighters of his Bader Force to reinforce this arena.
debkafile‘s exclusive sources report that this broad IDF campaign is planned to proceed over the weekend and early next week, on the assumption that Washington and the United Nations will step in at some early point and threaten to declare Israel in violation of the ceasefire resolution until it is stopped.

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