Israeli troops are pouring across the Lebanese border as warplanes and gunboats have shelled villages and destroyed bridges and roads near the historic city of Tyre.
Two Lebanese civilians have been killed and countless others have been wounded in the air raids on Wednesday morning.
The latest incursion comes after the Lebanese resistance group Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during a raid on positions along the border.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has declared the action an “act of war”, yet Israel has regularly attacked Lebanon since they were driven out of south Lebanon in May 2000.
Before this, Israel launched regular bombing raids on the south. In 1996 over 100 civilians were killed when the Israeli army shelled the village of Qana. In 2000 warplanes destroyed a power station to punish the Lebanese for resisting the occupation.
Now the Israelis are warning that “Lebanon will pay a heavy price.”
The threats against Lebanon comes as Israel has continued its siege of the Palestinian Gaza Strip, killing nine members of the same family when it destroyed a three storey building in Gaza City on Tuesday night.
Hizbollah are demanding the release of Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails. The Israelis hold over 20 Lebanese captives, including Samir Qantar who was 16 when he was seized in 1979.
Now Israel has mobilised 6,000 extra troops as it seeks to crush all opposition to its repression of the Palestinians.
Hizbollah emerged out of the resistance to Israel’s 22 year occupation of south Lebanon. The Islamist group have a large following among Lebanon’s Shia Muslims and have several MPs.
Hizbollah, the Lebanese Communist Party and other organisations have called for a mass demonstration in Lebanese capital of Beirut tomorrow (Thursday).