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Operation Density
Part of 2006 Lebanon War
DateJuly 13, 2006
LocationLebanon
Result Unclear
Belligerents
Israel Israel Air Force InfoboxHez.PNG Hezbollah
Commanders and leaders

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz
Chief of staff
Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot
Head of Operations Directorate

Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedi
Chief of the Israeli Air Force
Hassan Nasrallah
Strength
Israeli Air Force Hizbullah Rockets Array
Casualties and losses
None


Operation Density (or "Operation Specific Weight", Hebrew: מבצע משקל סגולי‎), also known as "The Fajr Night", was a Military operation conducted by the Israeli Air Force on the second day of the 2006 Lebanon War. In the operation, official Israeli military sources claim that the majority of Hizbullahs’ long-range rockets were destroyed in air strikes that lasted 34 minutes. Other sources question that the attack had any apparent affects on Hizbullah capabilities.

Background

The 2006 Lebanon War began when Hizbullah captured two Israeli soldiers. As result of this, a forum gathered in the Israeli army HQ in Tel Aviv, about the possible responses to the attack. One suggestion was the launch of "Operation Density", an air strike with the purpose of destroying the long range rocket capability of Hezbollah. After long discussion, the Israeli cabinet approved the operation.

The operation

"All the long-range rockets have been destroyed," Chief of Staff Halutz allegedly told the Israeli government on the second day of the war, "we've won the war."[1]

According to Israeli journalists Harel and Issacharoff the operation was a "Israel's most impressive military action" and a "devastating blow for Hezbollah".[2] But according to an US military analyst William Arkin there were "little evidence" that the Israeli Air Force even attempted, much less succeeded in, wiping out the medium and long range rocket capability in the first days of the war. He dismissed the whole claim as an "absurdity" and a "tale".[3] Another US analyst, Benjamin Lambeth, however, insisted that it was far-fetched to suggest that the "authoritative Israeli leadership pronouncements" were not based on facts. He admitted however that there was "persistent uncertainty" surrounding the "few known facts and figures" concerning the alleged attacks.[4] Anthony Cordesman believed that IAF probably destroyed most long and medium range missiles in the first two days of the war but acknowledged that these claims "have never been validated or described in detail."[5]

Hizbullah long remained silent on this episode of the war. On the sixth anniversary of the Lebanon war Hizbullah chairman Hassan Nasrallah claimed that Hizbullah had known that the Israelis were collecting information on the rocket platforms and launchers and managed to move them without being detected. Most of the locations attacked by the Israeli air force were therefore empty.[6]

American officials claimed that the Israelis overstated the effectiveness of the air war against Hezbullah and cited the failure to hit any of the Hezbullah leaders in spite of dropping 23 tons of bombs on its alleged headquarters bunker.[7] Al-Manar TV station only went dark for two minutes after the strike before it was back into the air. The TV station was bombed 15 times during the war but never faltered after the first hiccup.[8]

References

Sources

  • Cordesman, Anthony H.; George Sullivan and William D. Sullivan (2007). Lessons of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War. Washington: CSIS. 
  • Cambanis, Thanassis, A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah's Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, Free Press, New York, 2010
  • Harel, Amos; Issacharoff, Avi (2008). 34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah, and the War in Lebanon. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Lilach Gonen (July 13, 2012), Opening Strike
  • Dudi (David) Yaron (Augustt 3, 2014), Israel’s Air Force: From the Second Lebanon War to Protective Edge

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