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July 14, 2006
Israel Destroys Hezbollah HQ, But Nasrallah Escapes

Israel stepped up its attacks on Hezbollah targets throughout Lebanon this afternoon, destroying their headquarters in Beirut and again attacking Lebanon's airport. The IAF also bombed Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's house, but the Hezbollah chief apparently escaped harm in both attacks:

Hizbullah threatened to strike Haifa with improved Katyusha rockets on Friday evening after IAF warplanes destroyed the building housing the headquarters of the Hizbullah terror organization in south Beirut and organization head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's private home.

In an urgent flash, the organization's al-Manar TV station said the building housing Hizbullah's leadership was destroyed. It did not elaborate, nor say whether there were any casualties.

The report on the destruction of Nasrallah's home was announced by official Hizbullah media outlets.

From televised reports, it appears that Nasrallah had gone to ground and was not at either location when Israel struck. The IAF continued its attacks on southern Beirut, where Hezbollah has political strength and command-and-control centers. For its part, Hezbollah continued raining missiles throughout northern Israel; the Jerusalem Post link has a graphic that shows the areas hit by the Katyushas.

if Nasrallah did survive these attacks -- and it would have been rather foolish for him to have gone to his offices or to his house -- we can expect a press conference or some sort of live statement soon. It will be important for his organization to see him in control, else the discipline down the organizational line may disappear. In any case, the destruction of their facilities shows that the Israelis have pretty good intel and even better aim -- and Nasrallah had better hope that his movements don't expose him to IDF action.

UPDATE: Take a look at this argument by Daniel Freedman at It Shines For All:

What's interesting here is that Israel clearly had knowledge for quite some time of Nasrallah's house. If Israel would have tried to kill the terrorist leader before today, thereby throwing Hezbollah's chain of command into chaos, it might have set back Hezbollah's terrorist activities. But if Israel had done that, say a week ago, the international outrage at the "unprovoked attack" and "destablizing the region" would have been huge. A reminder why caterwauling about preemption should be ignored.

Had they assassinated Nasrallah, we would have heard more than just the outcry that Freedman describes -- but they may have saved a number of lives. Not only is Daniel correct about preemption, but it also points out the folly of denying that one is at war when the enemies continue to plot and gather their strength. Hezbollah and Hamas recognize no other status than war regarding Israel, and Israel has finally accepted it and acted accordingly.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 14, 2006 12:20 PM

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