IAF Hits Road on Lebanon-Syria Border

IDF: Road struck to cut arms supply routes from Syria to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

An IAF strike Saturday closed Lebanon's main crossing point to Syria for the first time since the start of the war between Israel and Hezbollah, security sources said.

Three air strikes hit the road between Lebanese and Syrian immigration offices in the Masnaa area of the eastern Bekaa Valley, approximately 1 km inland on the Lebanese side of the border, they said. There were no casualties.

Traffic on the border had been interrupted by IAF attacks nearby, but it was the first time it had been declared closed in the 18-day Israeli offensive in Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces said it had struck the road to cut arms supply routes from Syria to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

"The military attacked the road from Lebanon to Syria to prevent the smuggling of weapons," an IDF spokeswoman said.

An IDF officer said early Sunday that despite continued arms smuggling from Syria to Lebanon, Israel has no plans of attacking Syria, Israel Radion reported.

6 soldiers hurt in clashes with Hezbollah Israel Defense Forces troops pulled out of the southern Lebanon town of Bint Jbail on Saturday afternoon, after clashes with Hezbollah left six soldiers wounded and some 26 guerillas dead.

Armored Corps soldiers were still operating around the town, and were in control of certain areas.

One of the soldiers sustained moderate-to-serious wounds when a rocket misfired. The others were lightly hurt during clashes. All of the wounded were transferred to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

During the day's fighting, a joint force of Paratroopers and soldiers from the Golani Brigade seized Hezbollah equipment including five anti-tank missiles, 30 hand grenades, 41 clips and 10 bullet proof vests.

"(Israeli) forces are still there at the moment," an army spokeswoman said.

Two UN peacekeepers hurt in IAF strike on UN post Two Indian peacekeepers wounded in IAF strike on UN post in south Lebanon Two United Nations peacekeepers were wounded Saturday when an IAF strike hit near their border post in southern Lebanon, a spokesman said.

The two soldiers from the Indian battalion of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon were "moderately wounded as a result of the impact of an aerial bomb that hit in the vicinity" of their position in the border village of Adaisseh, UNIFIL spokesman Milos Strugar said.

The two soldiers were evacuated to a UNIFIL hospital in the town of Ibl Saqi.

Strugar said the observation tower inside the position was damaged.

Four unarmed officers with the UN observer force in south Lebanon were killed in an IAF strike that destroyed their bunker in southern Lebanon on Tuesday. The deaths sparked an angry spat between the world body and Israel when UN chief Kofi Annan said the hit appeared intentional, which Israel denied.

IAF hits bridges on Orontes River Two IAF raids destroyed a bridge on the Orontes River in the Bekaa Valley early Saturday, largely cutting off the town of Hermel from the rest of the country. There were no casualties, residents said.

Meanwhile, IAF warplanes took out the launchers used by Hezbollah to fire a new kind of missile at the Afula area, the furthest south that the guerilla group has reached since it began battering the north of Israel more than two weeks ago.

The initial investigation revealed that the missile has a range of 90 kilometers. The northern district police said that this kind of missile had not landed in the area before. The level of damage caused by the missile impact and the size of the warhead is also unprecedented, suggesting that it could have weighed up to 100 kilograms.

Security officials are looking into the possibility that the missile could have originated in Iran, and may even be a Zelzal missile, which has a range of up to 200 kilometers. Hezbollah has moved some of its rocket and missile launchers further north inside Lebanon following IAF attacks to destroy them.

On Thursday night, IAF planes fired more than 30 missiles at suspected Hezbollah hideouts in hills and mountainous areas in southeastern Lebanon. The day before, the IAF scored a direct hit against Hezbollah's missile command center deployed in Tyre, which was responsible for firing rockets on the Haifa area.

The IDF believes that at least 200 Hezbollah operatives have been killed since the fighting began more than two weeks ago, a military source said Friday.

IAF warplanes struck three buildings in a village near the market town of Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon as they renewed attacks on suspected Hezbollah targets Friday, killing a Jordanian citizen and a Lebanese couple and wounding nine people, including four children, Lebanese security officials said.

IDF troops also killed five Hezbollah operatives in the Lebanese town of Bint Jbail before dawn Friday, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli jets staged four bombing runs that left roads damaged in southeastern Lebanon, the security officials said. No casualties were reported.

Israeli artillery pounded the border village of Arnoun on Friday. The village is outside Nabatiyeh and next to the strategic Crusader's Beaufort Castle, which has a commanding view of the border area. More than 40 shells struck the village, sending up clouds of gray smoke, witnesses said.

The security cabinet on Thursday authorized the mobilization of three divisions of reservists, "to prepare the force for possible developments," but said that they will be deployed, if necessary, only after further approval by the cabinet.

Israel launched its military blitz against Hezbollah on July 12, in response to the militants' capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack.

Lebanon's health minister estimated Thursday that as many as 600 civilians have been killed so far, though the official toll stood at 382.

A total of 33 Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting and 19 civilians were killed in Hezbollah's unyielding rocket attacks on Israel's northern towns, the IDF said.

Mossad, IDF disagree over damage to Hezbollah The heads of two Israeli intelligence agencies disagree over how much the IDF assault has damaged Hezbollah, although both say the group has been weakened.

The Mossad intelligence agency says Hezbollah will be able to continue fighting at the current level for a long time to come, Mossad head Meir Dagan said.

However, Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin disagrees, seeing Hezbollah as having been severely damaged.

The IDF believes that at least 200 Hezbollah operatives have been killed since the fighting began more than two weeks ago, a military source said Friday.

Also, the IAF scored a successful direct hit Thursday against Hezbollah's missile command center deployed in Tyre, which has been primarily responsible for targeting Haifa and its surroundings. The regional command center was located on the 12th floor of a Tyre building that the IAF destroyed.

Both intelligence chiefs agree that Hezbollah remains capable of command and control and still holds long-range missiles in its arsenal, they said at a security cabinet meeting Thursday.