Hezbollah fired a massive wave of rockets at northern Israel Thursday and today. Several civilians were killed and many others injured. Warplanes from Israel renewed strikes on the outskirts of Lebanon's capital, Beirut. About 10,000 Israeli ground troops are engaged in heavy clashes with hundreds of Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon.
Israel says it is close to accomplishing its objective. Britain's prime minister says a United Nations resolution on Lebanon is near.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he hopes the major powers on the United Nations Security Council will agree within days on a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
"I hope that not merely do we get the resolution that suspends hostilities in the next few days, but together with that we get an outline framework of a plan which can then implement in the coming time that puts an end to the possibility of this conflict coming back," said Mr. Blair.
Western diplomats say once a ceasefire is announced plans will be put into place for an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. The United States opposes an immediate ceasefire without steps to deploy peacekeepers and disarm Hezbollah.
French Foreign Minister Phillipe Douste-Blazy reiterated that his country would not take part in an international force without a political agreement between Israel and Hezbollah.
"If there was a lasting political agreement, then it would be completely normal to send an international force to mediate, oversee and ensure that the ceasefire is respected, and to allow the Lebanese army to return to southern Lebanon.” said the foreign minister. “But in the absence of a political accord, France has clearly stated that it would not participate in an international force without a political agreement, without a lasting ceasefire, because it would simply be dangerous."
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the Israeli military is close to achieving its goal. Israel wants to disarm Hezbollah and push the guerrillas out of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said for the first time his group would stop rocket attacks on northern Israel if Israel stops its airstrikes in Lebanon.
Syria and Iran are major backers of Hezbollah. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos met with Syria's president. Moratinos says Syria would exercise its influence on Hezbollah if circumstances change in Lebanon. "Syria wants to be part of the solution. Syria doesn't want to be part of the problem."
Israel renewed its airstrikes against suspected Hezbollah targets in the battered southern Lebanese city of Tyre. A city official says the Israeli bombardment is making Hezbollah more popular. "They are supporting Hezbollah because it is taking the role to fight against, to fight back, and to push the Israelis away."
The International Red Cross delivered more aid to Tyre. Scuffles broke out as crowds of desperate people waited to get food and other supplies.