US warships move into E. Mediterranean in case Gaza escalation spills over into Lebanon
February 29, 2008, 9:35 AM (GMT+02:00)
Egyptian Gen. Suleiman cancels Israel visit
Friday, Feb. 29, Egypt’s intelligence minister Omar Suleiman canceled his visit to Israel because of estimates in Cairo that hectic preparations current in Israel and the Gaza Strip augur a steep escalation of cross-border violence.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report: Officials in Cairo expect Israel redouble its air bombardment and armored raids against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas to intensify and broaden the scope of its missile and rocket attacks on Israeli towns and villages.
Both sides are convinced that a further ratcheting-up of the war will generate indirect truce talks through a third party.
The US has meanwhile posted naval and marine vessels opposite the shores of Israel and Lebanon in case the fighting spreads to a second front. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources quote US and Israeli military sources as skeptical of the chances that prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak will secure a ceasefire. The Gaza conflagration is more likely, they believe, to stir Hizballah to ignite a fresh assault from South Lebanon.