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Humanitarian Fears Grow as Fighting Continues in Mideast


Israel carried out more air strikes in Lebanon, killing dozens of civilians while Hezbollah rockets hit the northern Israel. Militants also clashed with Israeli soldiers just inside the Lebanese border and violence continued in Gaza and the West Bank. There are now growing concerns about an imminent humanitarian crisis in Lebanon.

Israeli warplanes struck areas around Beirut and in southern and eastern Lebanon, targeting what the military says are suspected Hezbollah strongholds.

An Israeli general from the northern command, told Israel radio the offensive is in its "advanced stages," but not over yet.

The general confirmed that limited land operations inside the Lebanese border had begun and he said clashes took place with Hezbollah fighters in the area. The general also said while Hezbollah has been hit, he could not say just how much its strength has been depleted.

More than 250 Lebanese have been reported killed, mostly civilians.

The United Nations estimates up to half a million people have fled their homes and aid agencies warn of an imminent humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, thousands of foreigners are fleeing the country.

Hezbollah militants fired more rockets into northern Israel.

More than two dozen Israelis have so far been killed since the violence began July 12 when Hezbollah launched a cross border raid, killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others. The State Department and Britain have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

While the international focus remains on Lebanon, Israeli military operations also continued in Gaza.

Palestinian security sources say six people were killed Wednesday.

Palestinian government spokesman, Ghazi Hamad accused Arab countries and the international community of standing by and watching what he called "unprecedented crimes" committed by Israel.

Speaking on Palestinian radio, Hamad also accused the United States and some European countries of clearly having given Israel a green light to continue killing and destroying infrastructure, not only in Lebanon but also in Palestinian areas.

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its offensive into Gaza several weeks ago in an effort to stop rocket attacks and to secure the release of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Palestinian militants. Israeli forces have also carried out operations in the West Bank.

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