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Hizballah Launches Fajr-5 Rockets Deeper Into Israel

Making good on the earlier promise to strike beyond Haifa, Hizballah launched their deepest attack yet, striking Afula with a barrage of Fajr-5 rockets. The Fajr-5 is an Iranian-made and -supplied truck-mounted 333mm multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) with a range of approximately 50 miles and a 200-pound warhead. Prior to launching, the truck is parked and four hydraulic jacks are lowered to level the system for both accuracy and stability during firing.

How deeply Hizballah can fire them into Israel will depend on how far into southern Lebanon Hizballah dares to drive the system. They are believed to have been driven northward to avoid IAF attacks. In May 2006 it was reported that Hizballah had received a more advanced version of the Iranian Fajr-5, one capable of striking from a range of 125 miles or more.

US intelligence now seems to believe reports that Hassan Nasrallah is indeed hiding in the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. The Israelis have believed this for days, though he was reportedly spotted in plain clothes in Damascus. The question now becomes, if Israel believes he is still in the Iranian embassy, do they destroy it to kill Nasrallah? This would be a clear escalation, but Israel may choose to simply engage in open warfare rather than the cat & mouse game that allows Iran to engage Israel through Hizballah, seemingly untouchable.

The IDF is dealing Hizballah stinging blows amid fierce fighting, often at close quarters, displayed by Hizballah. This can be evidenced by an earlier broadcast message from Nasrallah (MEMRI TV: Clip #1203) indicating that land is not important, but rather simply the number of Israeli casualties, as Maroun ar-Ras and Bint Jbail fell. That Iran is calling for a ceasefire indicates an unwillingness to confront the Israeli military, even while Hizballah publicly refuses any international buzz concerning a negotiated settlement.

Israeli air strikes in and around the coastal southern Lebanese city of Tyre continue without pause amid much media scrutiny. However, as the rockets and missiles continue to rain down on Israeli cities and civilians, that the IAF destroyed a Hizballah missile command center within the neighborhoods of Tyre yesterday should be seen as a clear indicator as to why the attacks on the embedded Hizballah terrorists in Tyre have not slowed down.

So while support for Hizballah is reportedly growing in southern Lebanon, it should be noted that support for Hizballah in southern Lebanon has always been high. The deep embedding of Hizballah weapons systems, command and control systems and terrorists among the civilians did not happen by chance or brute force.

To not engage them and destroy these systems is to cede safe haven and free-to-launch zones to Hizballah terrorists leaving Israeli civilians subject to undefended attack. This, for the Israeli Defense Forces, is unacceptable. Operations are likely to continue in and around Tyre until attacks from there into Israeli cities cease.