The IDF was not deterred by dealing with two fronts – the Lebanese and the Gazan – simultaneously, especially "where there is a clear ideological connection between the two," according to the senior officer.
The army has already began calling reserves of pilots and rescue personnel, and an entire reserves division is set to go up north soon.
And what about the threat of long-range rockets, which are threatening population centers inside Israel?
"Even if they have thousands, we have at least 10 times more," the officer clarified. "If they attack Haifa and Hadera, it will constitute a reason to severely damage Lebanese infrastructures, including Hizbullah's 20-story buildings inside Beirut."
Following a night with many air strikes, the Israel Air Force is expected to expand its operation in all the Lebanese territory, and to particularly attack Hizbullah targets. A senior officer spoke about a message conveyed to residents living near terrorists and headquarters of the Shiite organization, according to which they had better leave the area or they might be hurt.
"Our target is the Lebanese state, and simultaneously we seek to hit terror organizations, with an emphasis on Hizbullah. We are preparing for a long battle and the current round will not end in a short while, as has happened since IDF soldiers left Lebanon," the officer said.
The officer told Ynet that in the past day dozens of rocket sites were struck, some of them in homes that were used as storerooms by Hizbullah terrorists. The hits were in the southern and central parts of Lebanon, about 5 to 20 kilometers (3.1 to 12.4 miles) inside the Lebanese territory.
Beirut's international airport was also hit, "and we plan to hit further central sites and routes. We will also hit any unauthorized vessel from the sea."
Is Nasrallah a target?
Up to now the Lebanese have suffered damages estimated at millions of US dollars. According to the senior officer, there is no plan to chase Hizbullah on the ground, but to severely hit the organization's facilities and infrastructures in Lebanon.
A special center of the operation is expected to be in the al-Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut, where Nasrallah has established "a state inside a state," and where he also lives with his family.
IDF officials refused to say whether Nasrallah himself is being targeted, and settled for a general statement about "an operation against all terrorists wherever they are." Leaflets distributed in the neighborhood called on the residents to leave the area ahead of a possible strike.
And while the war in the north expanded to the entire region, claiming lives, the Home Front Command did not take any chances and warned Israelis not to approach the border area.
"We are fighting for our home and the way it will look in the future. We have to be able to absorb in the short run in order to guarantee the future," said Home Front Command Chief Major-General Yitzhak Gershon said.
In the meantime, the Air Force already flew over Lebanon several times.
Brigadier-General Amir Eshel told Ynet: "We are operating now on two fronts – both in the Gaza Strip and on the northern border – with many squadrons."
According to Eshel, the battle will not end in "one swoop," but will last for a while. He noted that the Air Force was aware of the ability and willingness of terror organizations to hit warplanes, and has prepared accordingly.
- The IDF's operation inside Lebanon continued. An al-Jazeera correspondent reported of 50 people killed in strikes, according to Lebanese sources. Many residents have left for the north, leaving behind them ghost cities.
- Among the targets bombed from the air was also a bridge connecting the city of Sidon with the other parts of Lebanon. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that other parts of the Beirut-Damascus road may also be damaged later on.
- IDF soldiers accompanied by members of the Military Rabbinate continued their efforts to locate the body parts of the soldiers who were killed when their tank drove over a bomb in south Lebanon. The body of one of the troops was located Thursday afternoon.
- Fighting continued also in the Gaza area. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry was bombed Wednesday night. IDF officials said that the condition of Muhammad Deif, the most wanted Palestinian terror suspect, who was injured in an IDF strike Tuesday night, was critical. According to the Palestinians, he was moderately injured.