An Israeli military source says the Israeli army plans to step-up pinpoint incursions into southern Lebanon but will stop short of a full-scale ground invasion.
The military source made the comments after a US television network reported that an Israeli invasion of Lebanon was imminent.
“You should not expect a full-scale incursion into Lebanon,” the Israeli military source said, adding that brief, targeted incursions would intensify along the border.
“We are already inside Lebanon and troops will continue to operate there because it is the only way to act against the Hezbollah bunkers there,” the source said.
The source estimated that several hundred troops were currently operating in Lebanon.
The source cited as a possible model Israel’s tactics in the Gaza Strip, where ground forces have pushed into certain areas to carry out set missions for a few days and then moved out.
Israel on Friday ordered several thousand reserve soldiers to report for duty in a possible sign that the army was massing for a ground invasion of southern Lebanon to try to drive Hezbollah fighters away from the border.
CNBC reported that intelligence sources told NBC News that an Israeli invasion of Lebanon was likely on Friday night.
A military source said more than 3,000 reservists have been called up. Army Radio said it could be six battalions, which might mean up to 6,000 soldiers.
Such a build-up would be one of Israel’s biggest since it invaded Lebanon in 1982 to try crush Palestinian militants operating there. The army withdrew in 2000.
Israel has been moving troops and armour in since the crisis with Hezbollah erupted on July 12 when the group abducted two soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid.