No immediate ceasefire, says Israeli PM

Monday 31 July 2006 22.47
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Lebanon - Air raids come despite halt
Lebanon - Air raids come despite halt
Qana - Day of mourning after attack
Qana - Day of mourning after attack

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has said there will be no ceasefire in the war against Hezbollah in the coming days.

Mr Olmert said the military action would stop when the threat of Hezbollah rockets was removed and when two Israeli soldiers who were captured by the militants were freed.

Israeli planes were in action in southern Lebanon in support of ground operations again today despite declaring a 48-hour suspension of its aerial bombardment of the area.

The suspension was declared to allow an inquiry into the deaths of over 50 civilians - including many children - in an Israeli air strike on a residential building where they were sheltering in the southern Lebanese village of Qana.

Israeli aircraft opened fire in the Taibe area to support ground forces fighting Hezbollah guerrillas after earlier air raids on eastern Lebanon.

The Israeli army said it reserved the right to strike at Hezbollah rocket launchers, target Hezbollah leaders or give air support to its own ground operations.

Lebanese sources said at least two air strikes in the early hours hit roads in the areas of Yanta and Aita al-Fukhar near the border with Syria.

Reports about rockets falling in the Galilee area early today were described by Israeli police later as 'mistaken'.

Rescue workers have begun digging up dozens of bodies from under the rubble of at least three villages in south Lebanon.

Civil defence workers were using a bulldozer to clear rubble from where around 30 civilians were believed buried under houses destroyed in an air strike in Sreefa two weeks ago.