Hezbollah rockets bombard northern Israel

Thursday 03 August 2006 09.52
1 of 2
Nahariya - One dead in rocket attack
Nahariya - One dead in rocket attack
Baalbek - 19 dead in air offensive
Baalbek - 19 dead in air offensive

Hezbollah has bombarded northern Israel with over 200 rockets in the biggest single-day barrage since the conflict erupted in the region three weeks ago.

At least 36 rockets struck populated areas, leaving one person dead in the town of Nahariya and at least 19 others wounded across Israel.

Among the rockets fired was a Khaibar-1 rocket which landed near the town of Beit Shean, around 70km from the Lebanese border, the furthest strike into Israel so far.

Earlier, Israeli air strikes in support of a raid in the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek in northeastern Lebanon killed 19 people, including four children.

The raid on suspected militants in Baalbek was carried out by up to 6,000 Israeli troops backed by tanks and artillery.

Hezbollah said those captured in the Baalbek incursion, which began before midnight, were 'ordinary citizens', not militants.

Meanwhile, battles have raged on five fronts in southern Lebanon, with Israeli planes and artillery pounding towns in the region.

UN peacekeeping forces in the area said some of the most intense fighting occurred around the villages of Aita Shaab and Kfar Kila.

Air strikes resume

Israeli air strikes resumed overnight, destroying two bridges in northern Lebanon and leaving three Lebanese soldiers dead in the southern port of Sidon.

Israel had called a 48-hour partial halt to its air assault after a raid on the Lebanese village of Qana that killed 54 civilians, most of them children.

According to the Lebanese health minister at least 750 people in Lebanon have been killed in the conflict, now in its fourth week, which began after the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants.

International aid organisations operating in Lebanon say they are continuing to have difficulty in reaching those in greatest need because of the destruction caused by Israeli air strikes.

Several UN and Red Cross convoys bearing food and medical aid have managed to reach hard-hit areas, but many have been called off after failing to get Israeli clearance.