Special report: Israel-Lebanon conflicts [Gallery] [Videos]
JERUSALEM, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Israeli security
cabinet, headed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, on Thursday morning is
discussing the possibility of expanding the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
operation in southern Lebanon, Israeli local newspaper Ha'aretz reported on its
The report said that a number of ministers in the
cabinet are expected to express bitter criticism of the handling of the war in
the north, including its aims and the nature of the ground operations,
particularly following the heavy casualties in Wednesday's operations.
On Wednesday night, Olmert convened a meeting with
the group of seven ministers who are part of the security cabinet to discuss
options and exchange views about the continuation of the operation in view of
the rising casualties in battles against Hezbollah and the continued Katyusha
rocket attacks against northern Israel.
Olmert expressed support for the continuation of the operation in Lebanon,
and his stance received a boost Wednesday following the conclusion of the Rome
Conference, which dissolved without a call for an immediate cease-fire. This
means that Israel has been given additional time to carry on with its military
operation in southern Lebanon, while continuing to enjoy American support.
The last 24 hours were of the worse the IDF had known in recent years. Nine
soldiers and officers were killed in the fierce fighting in Bint Jbeil on
Wednesday, and 27 have been wounded.
The conflict erupted when Hezbollah guerillas captured two Israeli soldiers
and killed eight others during a July 12 cross-border attack.