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Refugees Speak of Catastrophy After Israeli Air Attacks
LEBANON-SYRIA BORDER (IPS) - Refugees fleeing Beirut in the face of Israeli air attacks are speaking of "haphazard bombings" and a crisis situation developing in the city.
Israeli warplanes bombed the suburbs of Beirut overnight, killing three people and wounding 55, according to Lebanese police. Residents reported at least four Israeli missile strikes early Friday morning. The Lebanese military responded with anti-aircraft fire.
According to reports from Beirut, a bridge in the area was hit, along with the main highway to the airport. Lebanese police report that a fuel storage tank at a power station on the coast was destroyed in the air strikes, while Hezbollah targets near Hermel close to the Syrian border were targeted.
Israeli military officials reported that Hezbollah fighters fired more than 100 rockets into northern Israel Thursday, killing two people and wounding 92. Some rockets struck Haifa, Israel's third largest city.
"The government has authorised the army to press on with its operation in Lebanon and hit more targets," an Israeli government official said. That was after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered his army to continue its operations in Lebanon.
No immediate end to the fighting appeared in sight.
About 15,000 people are said to have crossed the Lebanese border into Syria, seeking refuge from widespread bombings carried out by F-16 warplanes.
As in the days of the Lebanese civil war, the border between Syria and Lebanon was a scene of chaos. Streams of buses and cars with luggage tied to the roof queued to cross into Syria. Many people came walking, carrying their luggage or pulling wheeled suitcases.
"I was in an area south of Beirut which was bombed heavily by the Israelis," 55-year-old electrician Ali Suleiman told IPS. "There were so many refugees in shelters near us, which was near an old hospital which the Israelis bombed last night. It was terrifying at night when they attacked our area."