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Israel Airstrikes in Lebanon, More Rockets Hit Haifa


Israeli warplanes are bombing several parts of Lebanon for a 12th day as Hezbollah guerrillas fire more rockets into northern Israel.

Israeli police say the rockets killed two Israelis and wounded 14 in the port city of Haifa.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes in Beirut, southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley killed at least five people, including a Lebanese photojournalist. A U.N. observer was wounded in southern Lebanon by gunfire attributed to Hezbollah.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says the offensive will continue until Israel pushes Hezbollah away from the border. He says Israel is willing to consider the deployment of a multinational force, probably from NATO, in southern Lebanon as part of a solution.

In other developments, a Syrian government official warned that his country could be drawn into the conflict if Israeli ground forces start a major invasion of Lebanon and move towards Syria.

Meanwhile, the United States is expediting an arms shipment of precision-guided bombs to Israel. The decision to rush delivery of the weapons follows an Israeli request and is part of a multi million-dollar arms deal approved last year.

Israel's offensive started when the Lebanese-based militant group Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a July 12 raid in Israel.

More than 350 Lebanese and 35 Israelis have been killed in the violence, with another 500 Lebanese and 200 Israelis wounded.

United Nations officials say humanitarian chief Jan Egeland arrived in Lebanon Sunday to launch an appeal for millions of dollars in aid to help the 500,000 civilians displaced by Israel's bombing.

On Saturday, Egeland said $100 million is urgently needed to help avert a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. He called the situation in southern Lebanon a "very major crisis" with thousands of Lebanese leaving the scene of the worst violence.

Israel dropped leaflets Friday urging civilians to move about 30-kilometers north of the Israeli border.

Meanwhile, world governments continue to evacuate their citizens, with more than 25,000 people having already been moved to the nearby island of Cyprus.

Cyprus Foreign Minister George Lillikas said the island will need financial assistance from European nations if it is to keep receiving the thousands fleeing the violence.

Mr. Egeland is to meet with Israeli officials on Tuesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.
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