Taking a city known as “Hezbollah’s captial” is bound to be difficult. I don’t dish out many compliments to suicidal Islamic fanatics but it’s probably safe to say they hold their own in house to house fighting:
The soldiers also recounted feats of heroism displayed by their friends. “They carried soldiers on stretchers while simultaneously shooting at terrorists,” Shalom said.
“It was hell on earth,” Corporal Lior Sharabi said. “People risked their lives not only for the wounded but also for the dead bodies.”
Sharabi added that Hezbollah fighters demonstrated impressive combat capabilities. “They are strong fighters, not like us, but better than Hamas,” he said.
One of Hezbollah’s most troublesome position from which it fired upon soldiers was the towering mosque in the village.
“There were maybe 30 terrorists [in the mosque],” Shalom said.
Staff Sergeant Avraham Dajan was hit in his arm by shrapnel. “They fired from all directions, we tried to get to the wounded,” he said. “As I was about to throw a grenade, I got hit by shrapnel. After I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything. I saved myself.”
The situation is greatly complicated by the presence of civilians:
An IDF source explained that, considering that there are still a few hundred Lebanese citizens in Bint Jbeil, forces cannot attack the town aerially, and, thus, it is necessary to bring in ground troops. He emphasized that fighting in the area will continue.
And don’t even get me started about this. Of course all of this only complicates matters for the Israelis. Hezbollah fights without the IDF’s self-imposed restrictions and is probably even being aided by at least some of the remaining civilians.
Defense Tech quotes a Stratfor analysis of Hezbollah’s ground war strategy:
Hezbollah’s strategy appears to be threefold. First, force Israel into costly attacks against prepared fortifications. Second, draw Israeli troops as deeply into Lebanon as possible, forcing them to fight on extended supply lines. Third, move into an Iraqi-style insurgency from which Israel — out of fear of a resumption of rocket attacks — cannot withdraw, but which the Israelis also cannot endure because of extended long-term casualties. This appears to have been a carefully planned strategy, built around a threat to Israeli cities that Israel can’t afford. The war has begun at Hezbollah’s time and choosing…
Hezbollah has implemented its strategy by turning southern Lebanon into a military stronghold, consisting of well-designed bunkers that serve both as fire bases and launch facilities for rockets. The militants appear to be armed with anti-tank weapons and probably anti-aircraft weapons, some of which appear to be of American origin, raising the question of how they were acquired. Hezbollah wants to draw Israel into protracted fighting in this area in order to inflict maximum casualties and to change the psychological equation for both military and political reasons…
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