The General Staff of the Israeli Army said that Israel needs 10 to 14 more days to end the offensive in Lebanon, and that it will be concentrating attacks on Hezbollah’s long-range rockets and senior members of Hezbollah.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz made the statement on Tuesday, during a meeting with senior Israeli army officers.
A senior Israeli military source reported that Israel wants "to significantly weaken Hezbollah but not crush it, since it is impossible to crush a popular, religious movement," Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.
The source added that if Israel reacted differently to the October 2000 Hezbollah attack in Har Dov, that last Wednesday’s abduction of three Israeli soldiers could have been prevented.
Israeli Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said signs of cracks in the Hezbollah party “are evident.”
On the ground, at least fifty Lebanese, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed over the last twenty-four hours. The Israeli army also ordered civilians of 28 villages in southern Lebanon to evacuate their homes.
At least 29 people have been killed in the latest air strikes by Israeli warplanes in Lebanon, raising the toll there to more than 254. The Israeli military attacks inflicted the heaviest destruction in Lebanon in two decades, with missiles hitting ports, roads, bridges, factories and petrol stations.
The Israeli attacks targeted Lebanese cities and towns across the country in the seventh day of the declared war.
The Qatar based Al Jazeera Television reported that the attacks targeted religious places, buses, houses, crossings, bridges, army bases, main roads and humanitarian convoys.
In one of the attacks, the Israeli air force fired missiles at a convoy of ambulances and a truck carrying medicine donated from the United Arab Emirates.
Trucks carrying vegetables were also targeted, and one Lebanese resident was killed in the city of Al Jbeil, north of Beirut, after shells hit a civilian bus. In Beirut, several factories and workshops were also shelled.
Three Jordanians were killed and nine others were injured, including a further three Jordanian residents, when the army shelled the main road linking Al Biqa’ area with Beirut.