Israel Struggles with Hezbollah Rockets, Guerrillas

Israeli soldiers return from a mission across the border onto Lebanese soil. i i

Israeli soldiers return from a mission across the border onto Lebanese soil. Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar-On said Israel controls a strip of land up to five miles into southern Lebanon. Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli soldiers return from a mission across the border onto Lebanese soil.

Israeli soldiers return from a mission across the border onto Lebanese soil. Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar-On said Israel controls a strip of land up to five miles into southern Lebanon.

Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty Images

Hezbollah rockets continue to wreak havoc across northern Israel, killing at least three Israeli civilians and wounding dozens. Nearby in southern Lebanon, at least three Israeli soldiers died in ground fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas.

An estimated some six Israeli brigades — or about 10,000 soldiers — continued fierce fighting just inside south Lebanon. The three Israeli casualties included two slain by anti-tank rockets in fighting near the village of Markabah.

Israeli warplanes carried out bombing raids in Lebanon, severing the last major highway into the country, and hitting what Lebanese officials say was a farm warehouse. At least 27 workers were reportedly killed there.

In Israel, Hezbollah rocket fire continued to wreak havoc across the north. Several rockets fell near the city of Hadera, the deepest attack inside the country to date.

Israeli military officials say they've depleted about a third of Hezbollah's suspected cache of 12,000 of short-range rockets. Hezbollah has fire more than 2,300 so far. But that still leaves thousands in the Hezbollah arsenal.

An Israeli soldier at a border command post, who asked to remain anonymous, said he is skeptical Israeli forces will be able to wipe out Hezbollah's military capability.

"All we can do is weaken them until next time," he said. "That's all, weaken them so next time they can't do all the damage they are doing right now."

But Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz doesn't want there to be any "next time" with Hezbollah: Peretz has reportedly told the army to prepare for a ground push 15 to 20 miles farther north of the border to the Litani River. An expansion of that order would require the consent of Israel's Security Cabinet.

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