IDF prepares s. Lebanon civil rule

OC Northern Command: Activation would only come following consultations.

smoke lebanon 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
smoke lebanon 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam acknowledged in a briefing at Northern Command headquarters in Safed on Sunday afternoon that the commander of the IDF's civil administration unit had already begun preparations toward the possibility of instituting a military administration in areas captured by the IDF over the last week. According to Adam, "Certain units who will give us breathing space have been called up, including the commander of that unit." The unit's activation, however, would only take place following comprehensive consultations, he said. Adam denied reports that there were plans to set up a large prison camp for captured Hizbullah fighters, saying the measure would not be needed.
On Sunday morning, the IAF destroyed two Hizbullah rocket launchers in Lebanon. By noon, the IDF had struck 40 targets over the border. A series of large explosions shook the Beirut in the early hours of Sunday as IAF warplanes apparently again pounded the Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut's southern Dahiya suburb. Three huge explosions reverberated across Beirut in short succession, while other IDF raids struck the southern town of Sidon. The strikes in Sidon destroyed a religious building run by a Shi'ite Muslim cleric close to Hizbullah in their first hit inside the southern port city, currently swollen with refugees from fighting further south. At least four people were wounded in the air strike, which targeted Sidon for the first time since Israel launched its massive military offensive against Lebanese infrastructure and Hizbullah guerrillas July 12, hospital officials said. Strikes early in Israel's campaign hit bridges outside the city of 100,000, where 35,000 refugees are also now residing. Witnesses said the IAF jets fired two missiles that directly hit the four-story Sayyed al-Zahraa compound in Sidon. The compound, which contains a mosque, a religious library and a seminary, was entirely destroyed but was believed to be empty at the time of the strike, they said. A man and his wife in a nearby house were lightly wounded from broken glass, while two other people strolling near the compound were also hit by shrapnel, a hospital official in Sidon said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make statements to the media. The four were taken to hospital. The compound is run by Sheik Afif Naboulsi, a Shi'ite Muslim cleric close to Iran and Hizbullah. Minutes earlier, two other blasts also shook Beirut, caused by an IAF air strike on the southern suburb of Dahiya, where Hizbullah headquarters - including the residence of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah - have been flattened by repeated IDF bombing. IAF warplanes also hit targets in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, firing missiles in the cities of Hermel and Baalbek at around 11:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) Saturday, witnesses said. There was no immediate word on casualties in either strike. The death toll in Lebanon rose to at least 372 with at least 11 civilians and a Hizbullah operative killed since Friday night, according to security officials. Thirty-four Israelis have been killed, including 19 members of the military, according to authorities. The rise in the toll appeared lower than previous days, which reached a peak of at least 70 earlier this week. That may be because many residents have fled regions of south Lebanon being pounded in the bombardment - or because officials are having an increasingly hard time getting information from the war zone. IAF warplanes on Saturday destroyed TV and telephone transmission towers in Lebanon, knocking the nation's leading private network off the air and cutting phone links to some regions.