According to serving U.S. intelligence sources, Israel’s commando raid conducted Saturday in eastern Lebanon aimed at recovering the two Israeli soldiers captured July 12 by Hizbullah.
These sources said that the Israeli commandos were wearing Lebanese Army uniforms during the operation.
They added that the Israeli soldiers apparently mispronounced an Arabic password while attempting to get through a Hizbullah checkpoint. They got through but were met a deadly ambush at the next checkpoint, these sources said.
The raid ccaused a firestorm in the Middle East. CNN quoted the Lebanese Defense Minister, Elias Murr, as threatening to halt the deployment of Lebanese Army troops to the country’s southern region unless the United Nations can ensure Israeli compliance with Resolution 1701 requesting a pause in the fighting.
Israel defended its Saturday raid by claiming it was an operaton aimed at interdicting the transfer of weapons from Syria and Iran to Hizbullah, according to Israeli public statements.
But one U.S. intelligence source said, “That was an excuse worked out in advance — to give the operaton some legitimacy. The real target was its two kidnapped soldiers,” he said.
Another U.S. source said that ia commando raid was not an appropriate way to go about intercepting weapons shipments.