METULLA, Israel July 25, 2006 — -- On the Israeli border today diplomacy meant very little as troops prepared to expand the war into southern Lebanon.
On one road in the north, we counted 20 tanks lining up and more on the way.
Israeli officials said they plan to form a security zone running the length of the border with Lebanon, while sending more forces along more crossing points.
They won't say how far into Lebanese territory they'll go, but some of the troops will remain until an international force is deployed and Hezbollah positions are destroyed.
"They really cannot be destroyed from the air," said Maj. Michael Oren of the Israeli Defense Forces. "There's really no alternative but to send in ground forces."
There was jarring evidence of Hezbollah's tactics today when more than 80 rockets struck Israel, wounding dozens and killing a 15-year-old Israeli Arab girl.
For Israeli troops deployed inside Lebanon, the fight is difficult and dangerous.
We spoke with a group of soldiers returning from 48 hours of intense fighting, including the rescue of soldiers from a tank destroyed in the fighting.
"They are attacking us in a very organized position," one soldier said. "They know where we are coming from. They know everything. They shoot us wherever they like. It's their country."
He added they are "very well armed."
Now more Israeli soldiers are on the way, including an armored unit being transferred from Gaza to Lebanon. They have been told civilians have left the region where they will fight.
"Over here, everybody is the army," one soldier said. "Everybody is Hezbollah. There's no kids, women, nothing."
Another soldier put it plainly: "We're going to shoot anything we see."