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Israel Launches Heaviest Bombing of Lebanon in 24 Years
Israel has launched its heaviest bombing of Lebanon in 24 years following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. Three Israeli rockets hit runways at Beirut airport, forcing it to close. Israeli ships have entered Lebanese water to block ports. More than 20 bridges were targeted, causing heavy damage. Up to 47 civilians, including over 15 children were killed in the attacks.
Israel has launched its heaviest bombing of Lebanon in 24 years. Three Israeli rockets hit runways at Beirut airport, forcing the closure of the country's only international airport. Israeli ships have entered Lebanese water to block ports. More than 20 bridges were targeted, causing heavy damage. And an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at the headquarters of Hezbollah's Al Manar TV station in a Beirut suburb. The major offensive follows the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.
Overnight raids across southern Lebanon killed up to 47 civilians, including more than 15 children, and wounded over 100 people. Israeli Army Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told Haaretz "Nothing is safe [in Lebanon], as simple as that."
Hezbollah militants responded by firing volleys of rockets into northern Israel killing one Israeli woman and injuring 29. Eight Israeli troops were killed two injured a day earlier in the Hizbollah operation that captured the two soldiers.
Israel has said it holds Lebanon responsible for the soldiers' capture and views it as an "act of war". Hizbollah has said they will not be returned without a release deal for Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails. The Lebanese Prime Minister has denied any knowledge of the Hizbollah operation and refused to take responsibility for the soldiers" capture.
The Israeli offensive comes as Israel continues a separate attack in the Gaza Strip over another captured soldier. In Gaza, Israeli jets attacked the Palestinian foreign ministry building in Gaza City, injuring at least 10 people. At least 23 Palestinian civilians have died in 24 hours, including nine in one family whose Gaza City home was bombed.
* Naseer Aruri, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is author of the book "Dishonest broker: America's Role in Israel and Palestine"
* Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He joins us on the line from Tel Aviv.