Israel plans further atrocities against Beirut


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel 'renews attacks on Beirut'

Israeli jets have renewed strikes on southern Beirut, Lebanese sources say, 
despite a Hezbollah threat to bomb Tel Aviv in retaliation.

Israel's army has also reportedly been told to plan a push into Lebanon as far 
as the Litani river, which is up to 30km (19 miles) north of the border.

The threat of escalation comes despite UN moves towards a truce resolution.

Lebanon says more than 900 people have died, most of them civilians. Israel has 
lost 27 civilians and 40 soldiers.

Israel's campaign began three weeks ago after Hezbollah militants captured two 
Israeli soldiers.

Two huge explosions were heard in southern Beirut early on Friday local time. 
There are no reports yet of casualties and Israel's military has not yet 

Israel earlier dropped leaflets in the Lebanese capital saying: "After the 
continued launching of Hezbollah terrorist rockets... the IDF [Israeli Defence 
Forces] intend to widen their offensive in Beirut."

The suburbs of Haret Hreik, Bir Abed, Hay Madi and Roweiss were named in the 
Arabic-language warning.

Israeli aircraft had resumed bombing of the city on Wednesday night after a lull
of several days.

That had sparked a response from Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's leader, 
who said in a televised speech: "If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb...
Tel Aviv."

But he added that Hezbollah would end its rocket attacks if Israel stopped 
attacking what he called civilian areas in Lebanon.

Fighting raged on the ground in south Lebanon on Thursday with four Israeli 
soldiers killed and Hezbollah again targeted northern Israel, killing at least 
eight civilians.


Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has called for a lasting solution to the 

Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight programme, he said Israel had to withdraw from 
the disputed border territory known as the Shebaa Farms, which the United 
Nations says is part of Syria.

Mr Siniora said he wanted international leaders to pressure Israel to return 
detainees, provide maps of landmines and withdraw from "occupied territory".

Then, he said, "we will arrange that they will get back the abducted soldiers" 
and ensure that "there won't be any weapons in Lebanon other than those of the 
Lebanese authorities".

Mr Siniora also said Lebanon would run out of fuel in a week.
In other developments:

€  The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) warned that fuel shortages were increasingly 
hampering humanitarian relief operations in Lebanon

€  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recalls his ambassador from Israel, calling 
the attacks on Lebanon "genocide"

€  King Abdullah of Jordan publicly criticised the US and Israel over the 
fighting in Lebanon

€  Three members of a Lebanese family were killed in an Israeli attack on a 

€  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the answer to the crisis was the 
elimination of Israel.

Resolution takes shape

According to Israeli officials, Defense Minister Amir Peretz has told top army 
officers to begin preparing for a push to the Litani, seen by some as a possible
boundary for a "buffer zone".

Any such operation would require approval by Israel's seven-member security 

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said there will be no ceasefire until an 
international force is deployed in southern Lebanon.

A United Nations resolution calling for a truce appears close in New York.

But the BBC's UN correspondent says there are still differences over details of 
the sequence of events.

The French Ambassador to the UN, Jean Marc de la Sabliere, said it would take 
time to get from 95% agreement to 100%.

A second resolution including authorisation for an international peacekeeping 
force in southern Lebanon may be proposed later.

Since such a force could take weeks or months to arrive, a smaller force of 
French soldiers may be sent in first, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner 

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/08/03 22:52:24 GMT


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