The Lebanese Border
Haaretz reports that:
Thousands of Israeli troops are operating in south Lebanon where they are targeting Hezbollah positions. Among their activities, they are searching for tunnels dug by Hezbollah militants. According to the army, Hezbollah fighters have taken refuge inside these tunnels - often dug under homes in villages - along with their rockets, and that they occasionally emerge to fire one into Israel.
On July 19, this battle was described as "shaping the border", which contained bunkers up to 120 feet deep. Ynet described them.
Hizbullah terrorists were hiding out in the fortified underground bunkers some 40 meters (roughly 120 feet) underground, along with mass weapons caches, the officer said. ... Hizbullah has built a sophisticated system of bunkers, constructed of poured concrete, some of them equipped with communications systems. ... Vice Premier Shimon Peres also mentioned the issue of the bunker network during a recent meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. “Hizbullah dug tunnels under extensive areas of south Lebanon and rigged the area with a half ton of explosives,” Peres said.
The border area was supposed to be patrolled by the grandly titled United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), whose web page may be found here. No mention of the construction of any bunkers, or any intimations that up to 13,000 rockets may have been stockpiled can be found. Indeed, the web page hasn't been updated at all to reflect the current crisis. Never mind. Most of the Israeli ground activity on the Lebanese border has been reported in the Avivim area. An examination of the Avivim area by Google Earth (with general coordinates 33° 4' 60N 35° 28' 0E as per Falling Rain) yields this general picture.
As can be seen in this view, the Avivim area is really the junction between an east-west ridge and a north-south ridge behind which there is a dirt road winding in the direction of the northwest. Israeli control of this elbow of high ground would make it possible to descend on the road running behind the ridge. Two IDF helicopters were reported to have collided today operating at out the airbase marked on the map above, in a location called Kiryat Shimona. I've drawn a red arrow to represent an obvious threat. If the road behind the Lebanese border is taken by the IDF, Hezbollah resupply from the Syrian border via the Bekaa may become more difficult. It will also complicate efforts to relocate rockets or caches which have been deployed in the area. The downside of having 13,000 rockets is that they become a very heavy thing to move.
I'd like to appeal to the Belmont Club readers to restrict their comments to one or two per thread. Some readers have complained that a few readers have basically taken over the thread and that tends to shut down participation.
Sounds like there may be major ground movement now. Yoni says "Report from a friend of mine on the Lebanon-Israel border. Many Israeli troops have now moved into Lebanon." If I were to guess they are exploiting, but in what direction?