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Israel Names New Commander to Lead Offensive Against Hezbollah

09 August 2006

Israel has named a new commander to lead its military offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, in a move seen as effectively demoting another general amid criticism of the operation.

Military sources say Major General Moshe Kaplinsky was promoted Tuesday to supervise air, land and sea operations.

Israeli commentators saw the move as pushing aside the head of Israel's northern command, Major General Udi Adam. Israel's military has been criticized for its handling of the offensive, which has failed to stop Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel.

The move came as Israel's security cabinet prepares to meet Wednesday to decide whether to expand its offensive by pushing further north.

Witnesses say an Israeli strike early Wednesday on a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon killed at least one person and wounded several others.

Palestinian security officials say the shelling targeted a position in the camp of the militant Palestinian Fatah movement. But the Israeli military says it fired at a house used by Hezbollah guerrillas.

It was the first time Israel attacked the Ein el-Hilweh camp in its four-week offensive against Hezbollah.

Since July 12, when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, at least 900 Lebanese and 100 Israelis have died in the violence between Israel and Hezbollah.

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