Israeli troops push deeper into Lebanon

Tuesday 01 August 2006 22.26
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Qana - UN convoy reaches village
Qana - UN convoy reaches village
Lebanon - Israeli forces mass overnight
Lebanon - Israeli forces mass overnight

Israeli troops are reported to be pushing deeper into southern Lebanon amid fierce fighting with Hezbollah militants.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the Israeli army is advancing towards the Litani River which is several kilometres inside Lebanon.

And this afternoon an Israeli Minister said that Israel would recommence full air-strikes in Lebanon from early tomorrow.

A spokesman for the UN force in the region confirmed that in the morning a limited number of Israeli troops had staged a new incursion around the area of Houla in the southeastern sector of the border.

Israeli troops backed by tanks made a new incursion near the village of Mais Al-Jabal, where they were encountering fierce resistance from Hezbollah.

There were also intense clashes for a third consecutive day in the region of Taibe, Adaisseh and Kfar Kila, east of the port of Tyre.

In the early afternoon Israeli forces entered Aita ash-Shaab in the central sector of the border.

It has been confirmed that three Israeli soldiers were killed and 25 wounded by anti-tank rockets and automatic weapon fire in clashes in the village.

Israeli forces still are also operating in the area of Marun al-Ras, close to Bint Jbeil which is now largely a ruin and almost empty of people.

Ground offensive intensifies

Israeli soldiers have been widening the front following the decision of the cabinet to intensify the ground offensive.

The expansion of the offensive could take Israeli soldiers several kilometres deeper into Lebanon than their current operations near the border.

Up to 15,000 extra reserve soldiers are expected to be called up.

Yesterday, Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said his country was not ready to stop the campaign.

Meanwhile, a UN aid convoy has reached Qana, where more than 50 Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday. Most of the dead were children.

The UN said, however, that it was still awaiting clearance for two convoys to leave Beirut for the south.