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Israel Strikes New Targets in Lebanon


Israeli warplanes attacked Beirut's international airport for a second day on Friday, also hitting gas depots, the main Beirut-Damascus highway and Hezbollah targets in Beirut's southern suburbs. At least 50 Lebanese civilians have been killed since Wednesday when Israel began retaliating for a Hezbollah attack that killed eight Israeli soldiers and captured two others. Two Israeli civilians have so far died in Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel.

Israeli warplanes, navy vessels and ground artillery continued to pound targets across Lebanon on Friday, sealing off Lebanese ports from the outside world, and bombing the main highway out of the country which goes from Beirut to Damascus. Israeli Air Force General Ido Nehushtan says anything that helps Hezbollah will be targeted.

"The targets chosen are connected either directly or indirectly with terrorism," he said.

Hezbollah guerrillas responded with multiple rocket attacks aimed at targets across Israel. Tens of thousands of Israelis have moved to shelters for the time being.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir says Israel will not waver from its objective of having Hezbollah leave the border area where Israelis can be threatened.

"Through our operations, Israel expects to pressure the Beirut government to take action and to facilitate this action, by providing international encouragement and operational conditions favorable to the disarming of Hezbollah, and the active deployment of the Lebanese Army southwards to the Lebanon-Israel border," said Meir.

Lebanon's government has requested the U.N. Security council to implement an immediate cease-fire in the region. Lebanese officials insist they had no prior knowledge of and did not condone the attack by Hezbollah guerrillas on Wednesday.

On Thursday the United States vetoed a United Nations resolution demanding that Israel halt attacks in Lebanon, but U.S. officials also urged Israel to show restraint in defending itself.

Meanwhile, Israel on Friday pulled ground troops out of the central Gaza Strip saying they had completed their activities in the area. Israeli ground forces remained stationed in the southern part of the Gaza Strip where they are continuing to hunt for a missing Israeli serviceman seized last month by Palestinian militants.

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