Da Arab News del 20/07/2006
Originale su http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=85636&d=...

Israeli Troops Enter Lebanon

BEIRUT — Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon killed 61 civilians and a Hezbollah fighter yesterday, the deadliest toll of the eight-day-old war, as thousands of villagers fled north and more foreigners were evacuated.

Israeli troops crossed the border to raid Hezbollah posts and the Israeli Army said two of its soldiers were killed and nine injured in fighting with Hezbollah. Security sources in Lebanon said the clashes occurred during one of three cross-border incursions by Israeli forces.

Hezbollah rockets killed two children in the northern city of Nazareth, medics said. More rockets fell on the Israeli city of Haifa and one hit an empty seafront restaurant. A few people were hurt.

Hezbollah said it had also rocketed an Israeli Air Force base at Ramat David, about 35 km inside Israel, and the town of Nahariya. The Israeli Army said no base was hit.

Despite international diplomatic efforts, there was no sign Israel or its Lebanese Shiite foes were ready to heed the Beirut government’s pleas for an immediate halt to a war that has cost at least 292 lives in Lebanon and 25 in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the bombardment would last “as long as necessary” to free two soldiers captured by Hezbollah fighters on July 12 and ensure the Shiite group is disarmed.

Hezbollah wants to swap the two Israeli soldiers for Lebanese and Palestinians in Israeli jails.

At least 17 Lebanese, including several children, were killed and 30 wounded in an Israeli airstrike that destroyed houses in the southern village of Srifa, residents said.

“There was a massacre in Srifa,” the village’s mayor, Afif Najdi, told Reuters. Rescuers were still looking for bodies. Israel also bombed the runway at Beirut international airport, which has been closed since Thursday. The runway and fuel tanks have been hit several times.

At least 44 other civilians were killed in airstrikes that hammered other parts of south and east Lebanon, security sources said. Hezbollah said one of its fighters was killed.

An Israeli helicopter fired four missiles at trucks with drilling gear in a leafy road in Ashrafiya, a Christian district of Beirut, witnesses said. No one was hurt in the strikes.

Acting Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said Israel was trying to destroy Lebanon’s infrastructure, not just to defeat Hezbollah. “Are they turning it into a second Iraq?” he asked.

Three Indian workers were killed in an airstrike on a glass factory in the eastern Bekaa Valley, medical sources said.

Israeli planes also bombed a base of the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Bekaa, the PFLP said. The group gave no word on casualties.

The conflict has forced about 100,000 Lebanese to flee their homes. Displaced families packed into pick-up trucks and cars, many flying white flags, drove from border areas toward Sidon, the main city in the south, to try to escape the violence.

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