Israel vows no let-up on Lebanon


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel vows no let-up on Lebanon

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the attacks on Lebanon will be kept up 
until two captured soldiers are freed.

He also insisted Hezbollah guerrillas had to be disarmed and the Lebanese army 
had to control southern Lebanon.

"We are not looking for war or direct conflict, but if necessary we will not be 
frightened by it," he said.

More than 200 Lebanese people have died in six days of Israeli bombardment. 
Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, killing about 12 people.

A fresh barrage of rockets was fired at Israel on Monday evening, officials 
said. One landed close to a hospital in the northern town of Safed, injuring at 
least six people, medics quoted by Reuters news agency said.

There were also reports of renewed Israeli air strikes on Hezbollah strongholds 
in Lebanon overnight.

In Israeli strikes on Monday, at least 10 Lebanese people died when their 
vehicles were hit on a bridge in the south of the country, reports said.

At least 17 people died elsewhere, as Israeli air strikes targeted the northern 
city of Tripoli, the nearby port of Abdeh and the capital, Beirut.

The bodies of nine people, including six children, were reportedly found in the 
rubble of a building in Tyre hit by Israeli missiles on Sunday. One report said 
they had been trying to shelter in the basement.

Israeli ground forces also entered southern Lebanon, but Israeli officials said 
it was not the start of a large-scale invasion.

Israel launched its offensive last Wednesday following the capture of the two 
soldiers in a cross-border raid by Hezbollah.

As the Israeli attacks continue, large numbers of people in the south have 
abandoned their homes.

A BBC correspondent travelling through the south says the roads are clogged with
packed vehicles. Many of the displaced, he says, appear exhausted and 

A number of countries are planning major sea evacuations of their nationals from

The European Union has appealed for an end to hostilities. The UN Security 
Council has again met to discuss the crisis, although a BBC correspondent says 
it will not take any action until a team of UN envoys returns from the region 
later in the week.

UN chief Kofi Annan and UK PM Tony Blair have called for an international force 
to be sent to Lebanon.

The force could "stop the bombardment coming over into Israel and therefore 
gives Israel a reason to stop its attacks on Hezbollah", Mr Blair said.

Mr Annan suggested a "package of actions, not exhortations" that would require 
parties to release prisoners, stop both rocket attacks into Israel and 
retaliatory action and "pursue this idea of a stabilisation force".

Israeli spokeswoman Miri Eisin told the BBC it was too early to consider a new 

In other developments:

€  Lebanese TV showed footage of what it said was an Israeli F-16 fighter 
aircraft falling from the sky over Beirut in flames, but Israel said none of its
aircraft had been shot down, and said it was a missile

€  An Italian ship took some 366 Europeans out of Beirut to Cyprus, while a 
cruise ship chartered by France is due to arrive in Larnaca with hundreds more

€  French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin arrived in Beirut as an 
expression of solidarity with the Lebanese people

€  The US said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be travelling to the 
region, although a date was not set

€  UN special envoy Vijay Nambiar spoke of "promising" first steps after 
ceasefire talks in Beirut, but said much work remained to be done; he meets 
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday

Israeli forces have also kept up their offensive in the Gaza Strip - which began
after an Israeli soldier was seized by Palestinian militants last month.

Published: 2006/07/17 23:53:50 GMT


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