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Israel Expands Ground Operations in Lebanon


Israeli warplanes carried out more strikes across Lebanon on Friday as Israeli authorities stepped up warnings to civilians living in southern Lebanon to leave the area.

Senior Israeli Army commanders say their ground operations in south Lebanon will likely increase in coming days. Israel has warned people living south of the Litani River in Lebanon, about 30 kilometers north of the Israeli border, to leave the area. Isaac Herzog, a member of Israel's Security Cabinet says Israel will try not to harm civilians.

"We will try as much as possible to mitigate damage to civilians," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels to the region next week but U.S. officials are not calling for a cease-fire, saying Israel has a right to defend itself.

Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says his group will not release two Israeli soldiers unless Israel agrees to a large-scale prisoner swap.

U.N. officials say about 500,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

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