/PanARMENIAN.Net/ As the sound of explosions echoed over the port city of Tyre and with Israeli helicopters and unmanned drones in the skies above, Israel launched a limited cross-border operation into southern Lebanon early Wednesday. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN the ground troops are on a mission to destroy specific Hezbollah outposts. The spokesman, speaking from Jerusalem, declined to say how many Israeli troops were involved in the operation. He also declined to say how far Israeli troops had gotten into southern Lebanon but said they were close to the border. An Israeli diplomat said his country has no intention of staying in Lebanon.
“What we’re doing is part of trying to make Hezbollah incapable of shelling our cities and our villages and to kill our citizens,” said Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. The IDF said a “small group” of Israeli troops has been traveling across the border near the border fence for a number of days. Their goal is to pinpoint, or identify, Hezbollah infrastructure, including mines and tunnels.
Israel launched an extensive bombing campaign against Hezbollah after the Shiite Muslim militia abducted two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid into northern Israel. Lebanon’s government has demanded a cease-fire, but Israel insisted it would keep up the attacks until its kidnapped soldiers are freed. The fighting has killed at least 25 people, including 13 civilians, in northern Israel. Lebanese Internal Security Forces said Wednesday that 202 people had been killed, including 11 soldiers, and 488 wounded since the start of hostilities on July 12, reported CNN.