Senior Israeli officials have said that the operation in Lebanon is not limited in time, Washington provided a "green light" to continue the operation, and the IDF chief of staff has began preparing the soldiers and the public opinion for an extended operation.
In a special and first letter to Israel Defense Forces soldiers since the fighting in Lebanon broke out, and since the beginning of the current confrontation in the Gaza Strip – Lieutenant General Dan Halutz wrote to his soldiers: "The State of Israel is in the midst of fighting against radical Islamic terror organizations, who deny Israel's right to exist and who are sponsored by Iran and Syria, whose goal is to harm Israel's sovereignty."
"The fighting intensified because of the blatant provocation by Hizbullah and Hamas who carried out terror operations in Israel's sovereign territory during which IDF fighters were injured and killed and Corporal Gilad Shalit, and reserve soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped. We are responsible for defending the independence and safety of our country and the safety of its citizens," Halutz said.
"The fighting in the north comes in addition to the fighting in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip and is meant to last a long time," he said.
'Moral and determined'
"That's a test for us. The strength of our values and morals will radiate on the State's citizens and residents and on their capability to persist and face the threat to the front. The endurance of our society and the faith it has in the IDF strengthen us and will continue to do so.
"We will act as instructed until security returns to the State of Israel. Terror organizations made a mistake in reading the map and understanding the resilience of the Israeli public and the IDF."
The Chief of Staff continued with a message to soldiers: "The IDF is operating in Lebanon to destroy the terror infrastructure and infrastructure that supports terror. We targeted Hizbullah strongholds in Lebanon and the group's rocket arsenal in addition to ongoing attacks against Palestinian terror."
"You, the soldiers and your commanders, moral and determined, adhered to a mission and acting in the spirit of the IDF – will continue to be the source of the IDF's might and the base for its success. A strong IDF is a security net for the continuation of Israel's existence," he concluded.
- An IDF paratrooper was seriously wounded
by a sniper during an operation aimed at destroying Hizbullah posts on the eastern part of the northern border, inside Lebanon. On the western part of the border, three fighters were lightly to moderately injured after an anti-tank missile hit a Merkava tank.
- Several Katyusha barrages
were fired at northern communities Thursday morning. Rockets hit the Tiberias and Carmiel areas. There were no reports of injuries.
- Late Wednesday, Israeli warplanes dropped a reported 20 tons of bombs on a bunker
in south Beirut where senior Hizbullah leaders were thought to be. According to Hizbullah officials, no senior organization leaders were killed in the strike.