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Israel Pushes Deeper into Southern Lebanon


Israeli troops are widening their push into southern Lebanon, after the United Nations Security Council adopted a cease-fire resolution attempting to end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

An Israeli army spokesman says the number of soldiers fighting in Lebanon has now tripled, to about 30,000.

Israeli tanks and armored columns Saturday pushed north toward the Litani River, 30 kilometers inside Lebanon. Lebanese officials said Israeli airstrikes in northern Lebanon and on the cities of Sidon and Tyre along the coast left at least 19 people dead.

The United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, says he expects the fighting in Lebanon to wind down over the next 48 hours.

But Israel's army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, says the offensive against Hezbollah will continue until a cease-fire is actually implemented.

Also Saturday, Hezbollah fired new rockets at northern Israel. Medics say there have been some injuries but there no deaths.

On Friday, an Israeli drone fired several missiles at a convoy of civilians and Lebanese security forces fleeing violence in southern Lebanon, killing seven people.

Israeli officials say the strike was carried out on the suspicion that Hezbollah was moving weapons in the 100-vehicle convoy. Israeli officials say they did not grant permission for the convoy from the Lebanese town of Marjayoun.

At least 900 Lebanese - most of them civilians - have been killed since the fighting began one month ago. More than 120 Israelis - most of them soldiers - have died.

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

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