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Israeli Airstrkes on Beirut Resume After Two Day Pause


Israeli forces have pounded Beirut for the first time in nearly two days as fighting raged along the border to the south.

Massive explosions shook Beirut and smoke hovered over Hezbollah strongholds in the city's southern districts.

South of Beirut, Israel says 20 Hezbollah guerillas were killed in fierce fighting in and around the border town of Bint Jbail. Two Israeli soldiers were killed near the town Monday.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says Israel intends to maintain a security zone along the Lebanese border until an international stabilization force arrives.

In other developments, Lebanese officials say an Israeli missile strike on a house killed seven people, including several children, in the town near Tyre (Nabatiyeh). The officials say it was not clear why the house was targeted.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials say a Hezbollah rocket killed a girl in northern Israel Tuesday. At least 18 people were wounded in Haifa, which was hit by a barrage of rockets.

Meanwhile, U.N. officials say they are awaiting final approval from Israel to dispatch a humanitarian aid convoy from Beirut to south Lebanon, where an estimated 700,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

Israel began its offensive against Hezbollah after guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers, triggering a battle that killed eight Israelis. The violence has claimed the lives of more than 370 Lebanese, almost all civilians, and 37 Israelis. About 20 Israeli troops have died in the fighting.

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