IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are still being held hostage by Iranian-backed Hizbullah terrorists operating out of south Lebanon.
Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin (pictured) told Cabinet members that the captive Hizbullah terrorist, responsible for firing anti-tank missiles during the kidnapping, had been taken prisoner during an operation in Lebanon. The Hizbullah man was taken for interrogation. Yadlin also confirmed that more than 400 Hizbullah terrorists have been eliminated since the beginning of the war.
Yadlin updated Cabinet ministers on the situation in the north, saying there has been significant progress in damaging the terror organization as well as the credibility of its leader, chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah.
"Nasrallah has become a figure that hides in a bunker," he said. "His evaluations of how Israel responds, how it prepares, how steady its home front command is, how long the conflict will last … all of these parameters have been significantly hit."
Yadlin also pointed out that Nasrallah began with a demand to release thousands of Palestinian Authority prisoners held in Israeli prisons, but has now reduced that demand to focus solely on Lebanese prisoners.
Despite media reports, such as a recent report in The New York Times by veteran reporter Sabrina Tavernise, Yadlin said that Lebanese society has begun to view Nasrallah as a liability rather than an asset. "Instead of being a protector of Lebanon," Yadlin said, "Nasrallah is considered the destroyer of Lebanon. This is clear in Lebanese society, and is what IDF intelligence is hearing in the Lebanese dialogues, in what Lebanese are saying to one another."
|Heavy Fighting in Southern Lebanon; Sleeping Terror Cell Caught
13:37 Aug 08, '06 / 14 Av 5766
by Hillel Fendel
|IDF captures 5 Hizbullah fighters overnight, including a cell that had fallen asleep. Two soldiers killed. Olmert meets with Katzav, says Lebanese proposal to take over south is "interesting."
|In the Bint Jbeil area of southern Lebanon, Israeli paratroopers discovered a small group of sleeping Hizbullah terrorists, complete with heavy weaponry and other equipment. The Israelis woke them up and brought them to Israel.
In a separate incident, a unit of reservists captured a Hizbullah unit with rockets ready for firing. Five Hizbullah terrorists were captured in total, and between 7 and 15 were killed. Heavy fighting continues in the area, and only at 1:30 PM was it released for publication that two soldiers had been killed. One soldier was brought to an Israeli hospital with a serious head wound, and seven others were lightly wounded.
Close to 50 Katyushas have been fired at various Israeli cities in the north this morning, including Kiryat Shmonah and Nahariya. At least one woman in Kiryat Shmonah has been treated for shock.
More than 160 Katyushas were fired on Monday, wounding 17 people. 3,050 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning of the war four weeks ago; 75 people are still hospitalized as a result.
Four soldiers were killed on Monday in three separate battles with Hizbullah terrorists. One, 22-year-old Staff Sergeant Malko (Moshe) Ambao of Lod, was killed Monday morning in a fierce exchange of gunfire with Hizbullah terrorists. Two other soldiers - Maj. Yotam Lotan from Kibbutz Beit HaShitah and Sgt. Noam Meirson, 23, of Jerusalem - were killed in a later incident when a rocket hit their tank nearby. Still later, an anti-tank rocket hit an IDF force in the village of Debl, killing First Sgt. Philip Mosko, 21, of Maaleh Adumim and lightly wounding five soldiers.
Olmert Studies Interesting Proposal
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert briefed President Moshe Katzav on the war this morning, and then met with reporters. He said that he and the government ministers are "studying" the proposal for the Lebanese Army to take immediate control of the south of the country, in place of Hizbullah. Calling it "interesting," the Prime Minister said the practicality of the idea would have to be looked into. It is not clear how it could be guaranteed that Hizbullah terrorists would not be integrated into the Lebanese forces. Hizbullah is a member of the Lebanese government coalition.
Speaking beforehand in a special broadcast to Jewish fundraisers in the United States, Olmert said, "We will win, but we will have to pay a terrible price." A special emergency appeal is underway in the U.S. for Israel's war effort.
"Our enemies wish to kill us," Olmert told them, "in the hope that they will help actualize the Iranian president's pledge to wipe Israel off the map."