Israeli troops enter into Lebanon

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers on Wednesday during clashes with the Israeli army across the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Israeli troops enter into Lebanon

There have been fierce clashes in the border area with Israel firing artillery fire and Hezbollah responding with Katyusha rockets.

Lebanese security officials said Israeli aircrafts bombed roads, bridges and Hezbollah posts in southern Lebanon, killing more than two Lebanese civilians and at least one Lebanese soldier.   

The Israeli rescue service ZAKA said three Israeli soldiers were killed and eight wounded in the fighting.
Israel has already launched a major military offensive in the Gaza Strip, claiming that it's aimed at freeing an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian resistance fighters on June 25 in a cross-border raid.

The captors have demanded Israel to release all Palestinian women and children along with 1,000 male detainees in exchange for Gilad Shalit, but Israel rejected to meet their demands, insisting that the release must be "unconditional."

  • Prisoner swap

Hezbollah announced the capture of the Israeli troops on its television channel, al-Manar, saying that they want to exchange them with all Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons. 

"Fulfilling its pledge to liberate the (Arab) prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance ... captured two Israeli soldiers at the border with occupied Palestine," Hezbollah said in a statement, adding that the "two captives were transferred to a safe place."

The chief news editor of Hezbollah TV, Ibrahim Moussawi, told the BBC that the resistance movement would do everything it can to make the prisoners' swap. "[That is] because Israelis still occupy parts of Lebanon, and still hold hostages in their prisons. Some of them have been there more than 25 years."

Meanwhile, local media reported that Israeli ground troops entered southern Lebanon to search for the two kidnapped soldiers.

The Israeli government said that it's holding the Lebanese government responsible for the fate of the two soldiers. And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called a special cabinet session right after Hezbollah's announcement of the soldiers' capture.

"These are difficult days for Israel and its citizens," Olmert told reporters.

Hezbollah seized three Israeli troops in 2000, who died during the operation but their bodies were later exchanged for prisoners.

  • Gaza offensive

In Gaza, Israel bombed a Gaza City house early Wednesday, killing more than nine Palestinians and wounding more than 37 others, including children.

According to the Israeli army, the house was destroyed by a 250kg bomb dropped by an F-16 jet. 

The Israeli army said it targeted the building during a high-level meeting of Hamas leaders, claiming that the air strike wounded Muhammad Deif, leader of Hamas' armed wing.

But Hamas denied that Deif was in the house at the time.

Local officials said the building belonged to Hamas activist Nabil Abu Salmiyeh, a lecturer at Gaza City's Islamic University, and that he, his wife and seven of their nine children were killed.

Earlier in the day, Israeli tanks and troops entered the central Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said, adding that Israeli forces were conducting search raids in a village east of the town of Deir el Balah and moved about 150 meters into the territory.

Reports say Israeli troops took control of Gaza's main north-south road, cutting the coastal strip in two. Palestinian residents were staying off the road because Israeli snipers were on rooftops, and the road was within shelling range of tanks that had taken up position earlier Wednesday.

Israeli troops had already entered parts of northern and southern Gaza, raising the possibility of an extended military presence in the area, despite Israeli officials' claims that they don't plan to re-occupy the strip.

Israel has vowed to continue its Gaza offensive, which has already killed more than 65 Palestinians, including many civilians, until Palestinian fighters free Shalit and stop rocket attacks. The Israeli government has rejected a call by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya for a mutual ceasefire.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16