Israel’s security cabinet is meeting to discuss whether to expand its offensive against Hizbollah militants. It comes as talks continue at the United Nations over a draft resolution aimed at ending the war. Israel has said it will pull out of southern Lebanon once an international force and the Lebanese Army move into the region. But in the absence of agreement on a UN resolution, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made it clear he wants to push troops deeper into Lebanon, beyond the Litani River, to fight Hizbollah guerrillas. Beirut wants an immediate ceasefire and a quick withdrawal of thousands of Israeli troops.
So far, at least 10,000 Israeli soldiers have been fighting just inside the border, meeting fierce resistance. Israel’s senior military officials are said to favour the plan to expand the war in the hope of damaging Hizbollah as much as possible before a ceasefire takes hold. However Olmert is said to be hesitant fearing heavy casualties. In preparation for the possible push, Israeli planes have been distributing flyers denouncing Hizbollah leaders in a bit to break support for the militant group.