hundreds of innocent women without charge. Israel also refuses dialogue, prefers war, terrorism , and Nazism !! All with US support. Thus axe of evil is US/ Israel , and not Iraq, Iran ,and NKorea, as classified by new cons.
Israel calls Hizbollah capture of soldiers act of war
By Alaa Shahine Wed Jul 12, 1:16 PM ET
QASMIYEH, Lebanon (Reuters) - Hizbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed at least seven on Wednesday in what Israel described as an act of war by Lebanon that would draw a "very painful" response.
Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the two soldiers had been seized to force Israel to release prisoners.
"What we did today ... is the only feasible path to free detainees from Israeli jails," he told a news conference in Beirut, proposing "indirect" negotiations, not confrontation.
He said the operation had been in the works for five months. The Shi’ite movement has made two previous failed attempts to catch Israeli soldiers for a prisoner swap in less than a year.
Hizbollah’s bold cross-border attack returned it to the frontline of the Middle East conflict. It inflicted the heaviest losses Israel has suffered on its northern border since it withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000, and drew Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into a second crisis over captured Israeli soldiers.
Israel is already engaged in an expanding military offensive in the Gaza Strip launched after Palestinian militants captured a soldier in a cross-border raid on June 25.
Lebanese civilians braced for Israeli bombs, but many people in the mainly Shi’ite south expressed defiance. "The resistance has given us a balance of power and Israel will pay the price for any retaliation," said Hussein Mohammed, 55.
Two Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli air raid on a coastal bridge at Qasmiyeh. Bombs hit eight other bridges in the south and 16 Lebanese were wounded, security sources said.
SWEETS AND FIREWORKS
The sources said the Israeli soldiers had been seized at around 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) across the border from Aita al-Shaab, some 15 km (nine miles) from the Mediterranean coast.
The Israeli army confirmed that two Israeli soldiers had been captured and at least seven killed on the Lebanese frontier. A military source said the toll could rise.
Hizbollah supporters set off firecrackers and distributed sweets in the streets of Beirut in celebration.
Nasrallah said one Hizbollah fighter was killed in Israeli air raids, along with several civilians.
Israeli ground forces crossed into Lebanon to hunt for the missing soldiers, Israeli Army Radio said. Nasrallah said Hizbollah fighters had repelled the incursion.
Apparently new footage on Hizbollah’s al-Manar television showed a smoldering Israeli jeep, with a soldier’s kit lying beside it. It showed smoke rising from an Israeli border post.
Traffic was thin on roads in the south amid sporadic Israeli shelling of border areas. An Israeli rocket hit a car carrying a crew from Lebanese New Television, wounding all three.
Israeli troops have not struck deep into Lebanon since they withdrew six years ago after an 18-year war of attrition by Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hizbollah fighters.
"It is an act of war by the state of Lebanon against the state of Israel in its sovereign territory," Olmert said of Hizbollah’s action, threatening a "very painful" response.
Nasrallah said the Israeli captives were in a secure place, but gave no details on their condition.
In 2004, Hizbollah swapped a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers for more than 420 Arab prisoners after German mediation.
Germany said on Wednesday it was contacting Middle Eastern capitals about the two captured Israeli soldiers, but declined to say if it was prepared to mediate again.
Olmert called a special cabinet session for 8 p.m. (1700 GMT) to discuss further military action.
The Lebanese cabinet began an emergency meeting earlier.
Hizbollah, the only Lebanese faction to retain its weapons after the 1975-90 civil war, is also a political party with 14 members in the Beirut parliament and two cabinet ministers.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan led widespread international calls for Hizbollah to free the captured Israelis.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the Hizbollah attack, urged all sides to show restraint and asked Syria "to use its influence to support a positive outcome."
But Syria said Israeli actions were to blame for guerrilla attacks. "Occupation is what provokes the Palestinian and Lebanese people," Vice President Farouq al-Shara declared.
In Gaza, Israel killed nine members of a Palestinian family in an air strike that destroyed a three-storey residential building where top Hamas commanders were believed to be meeting.
The bombing was among a series of attacks that killed a total of 22 Palestinians as Israeli forces swept into central Gaza on Wednesday, broadening an offensive aimed at freeing a captured soldier and halting cross-border rocket fire.
The Israeli military said the air raid wounded Mohammad Deif, leader of the governing Hamas’s armed wing. A spokesman for Hamas’s Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades denied Deif was hurt.
Israel has rejected calls from Hamas for a prisoner swap for Corporal Galid Shalit, captured by Hamas and allied fighters. Its ground campaign in Gaza, the first since it left the territory last year, has killed about 78 Palestinians.
(Additional reporting by Karamallah Daher in Marjayoun, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Dan Williams at Kissufim, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Saul Hudson in Paris, Phil Stewart in Rome and Louis Charbonneau in Berlin)