Accessibility links

Israel-Hezbollah Ceasefire Holds, Lebanese Return South


A cease-fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon is generally holding for a second day Tuesday.

Israeli military officials say Hezbollah fired several mortar rounds overnight that landed near Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, causing no injuries or damage.

Earlier, the Israeli army said Hezbollah launched at least 10 rockets from southern Lebanon, just hours after the U.N.-imposed cease-fire went into effect on Monday. Israeli forces say none of the projectiles reached northern Israel, and they did not return fire.

Meanwhile, thousands of displaced Lebanese families trying to return to their homes crowded bomb-damaged roads Tuesday as they tried to reach their villages in the southernmost part of the country.

And in northern Israel, the target of thousands of rockets fired by Hezbollah, residents emerged from bomb shelters for the first time in weeks.

Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, says his fighters won a "strategic, historic victory" over Israel.

President Bush, however, says the monthlong conflict was a defeat for Hezbollah, since a combined force of U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese troops will move into the border area previously controlled by fighters from the militant Shi'ite militia.

The United Nations' special envoy for the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto, says international peacekeepers should arrive in Lebanon within days. U.N. officials met with Israeli and Lebanese army officials Monday to discuss the transfer of Lebanese territory now under Israeli control.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, facing his critics in Israel's parliament on Monday, said the U.N. cease-fire resolution should "fundamentally change" the situation on the country's northern border.

Israeli authorities say their troops will not leave most of the positions they seized and still hold in southern Lebanon, nor will an air-and-sea blockade of Lebanon end until an international system is in place to prevent arms shipments to Hezbollah.

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

XS
SM
MD
LG