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Israeli Jets Strike Communications Tower Near Beirut

Israel has bombed sites in Lebanon, hours after the Jewish state suffered its worst losses in two weeks of fighting Hezbollah guerrillas.

News reports say Israeli warplanes knocked down a communications tower in the Amsheet area north of Beirut early Thursday.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah fighters killed nine Israeli soldiers during fierce fighting near the southern Lebanese border.

The Israeli army says eight soldiers died in an ambush near Bint Jbail, a key Hezbollah stronghold just inside Lebanon. The army says a ninth soldier was killed in Maroun Ras.

A VOA reporter near the fighting says Israel has encountered tougher resistance than expected in its efforts to take Bint Jbail and is sending in reinforcements.

The Israeli army says dozens of Hezbollah fighters have been killed.

Meanwhile, a top Israeli general, Major General Udi Adam, said he expects Israel's Lebanon offensive to last several more weeks. Israeli officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to create a two kilometer-deep security zone in southern Lebanon to keep Hezbollah away from the border.

Hezbollah fired more than 100 rockets into northern Israel Wednesday, causing injuries.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says his guerrillas are ready to fire rockets that will reach farther into Israeli territory, beyond the northern city of Haifa. Israel believes Hezbollah has missiles capable of reaching as far south as Tel Aviv.

Some 400 Lebanese and about 50 Israelis have died in the fighting since July 12.

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