Israel okays wider ground offensive

Israel's security cabinet has given a green light to the army to widen a ground offensive against Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

    Ground forces have faced tough opposition from Hizbollah so far

    An Israeli official said early on Tuesday that the military had recommended an expansion of the offensive, which could take Israeli soldiers several kilometers deeper into Lebanon.

    "The security cabinet approved a widening of ground operations without any objections," the Israeli government official said.

    The Israeli army has so far stayed within 2-3 kms of the border although air strikes have been carried out across the country.

    Israel's radio also announced on Tuesday morning that an additional 15,000 reservists would be called up.

    The goal

    Israeli leaders have said they want to create a "security zone" about 1.5 km wide that would be free of active Hezbollah members.

    "The security cabinet approved a widening of ground operations without any objections"

    An Israeli government official

    The Israeli cabinet's decision means that the army can now choose when or whether troops should push deeper into Lebanon.

    An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters, said there was no deadline for the Israeli offensive to end.

    The United Nations Security Council is expected to debate a resolution this week about a cease-fire.

    Tough resistance

    Israeli forces have been trying to drive Hezbollah back from the border and end rocket attacks on Israeli cities since the Lebanese group abducted two soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

    The limited Israeli ground forces that have entered south Lebanon so far have faced tough opposition from Hezbollah fighters there.

    Israel has been wary of getting bogged down in territory from which it withdrew in 2000 after 22 years of occupation.

    Last week, Israel called up at least 15,000 reserve soldiers to allow for a possible expansion of the offensive.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Trump's Middle East plan: Decoding a century of failed deals

    Trump's Middle East plan: Decoding a century of failed deals

    Al Jazeera read all 181 pages of 'the deal of the century', comparing its language with 100 years of failed agreements.

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    As tensions over India's citizenship law shine a light on Assam, a writer explores the historical tensions in the state.

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    The story of a man who spent 19 years awaiting execution reveals the power of a false blasphemy claim to destroy a life.