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Israeli air strikes close Beirut airport
Beirut's Rafiq Hariri airport has been closed after Israeli air strikes on the runways, according to according to a Lebanese aerounautic source.
The closure of the airport on Thursday came after witnesses reported at least two strikes on the facility's eastern runway while Lebanese anti-aircraft batteries fired at Israeli fighter jets.
Until then, the bombing had targeted bridges linking south Lebanon to the rest of the country.
In southern Lebanon, at least 22 civilians were reported killed in overnight Israeli attacks, including a family of 12 in the village of Dweir, leading TV station LBC reported.
Israel has launched a series of air raids deep into Lebanon after fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance group, killed eight Israeli soldiers and captured two in a cross-border attack.
Israel described Wednesday's attack as an act of war by Lebanon and promised a "severe response", with the government giving the green light to military action against Hezbollah after an emergency cabinet meeting.
"It is an act of war by the state of Lebanon," said Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and the cabinet promised a response with "appropriate severity".
At least two Lebanese civilians were killed in an Israeli air raid on a coastal bridge at Qasmiyeh, while bombs hit nine other bridges - including one 16km south of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
Several suspected Hezbollah posts in south Lebanon came under Israeli air and land bombardment, while Hezbollah said it had bombed an army post in northern Israel shortly after midnight, causing several casualties.
Amir Peretz, the Israeli defence minister, told his commanders to prepare civil defence plans in case Hezbollah fired long-range rockets at Israeli cities and industrial installations.
Prisoner swap wanted
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, said the soldiers had been seized to force Israel to release prisoners.