The Israeli cabinet has given the go-ahead for a widening of the ground offensive inside Lebanon. Military sources had recommended the expansion of the operation which could take Israeli soldiers several kilometres deeper into the country. Currently troops and equipment are concentrated near the border. The aim is to push Hizbollah guerrillas behind the Litani River – until a planned international intervention force could be deployed.
Israel is wary of becoming bogged down in territory from which it withdrew six years ago after 22 years of occupation. Last week the country called up at least 15,000 reserve soldiers to augment its ranks ahead of a possible advance.