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Israeli gunships have attacked central Beirut
by ALJ
Saturday Jul 15th, 2006 11:54 AM
Israeli gunships have attacked central Beirut for the first time in Israel's four-day-old assault on Lebanon as the civilian death toll neared 100.

The renewed fighting prompted the Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, to repeat calls for a ceasefire on Saturday, saying

Israeli attacks had turned Lebanon into a disaster area in need of international aid.

"We call for an immediate ceasefire backed by the United Nations," Siniora told a news conference in Beirut. "I declare today that Lebanon is a disaster zone in need of a comprehensive and speedy Arab plan ... and [it] pleads to its friends in the world to rush to its aid."

The latest Israeli strikes hit the lighthouse, radar installation and grain silos at the port in Beirut, in the first attack so close to the centre of the Lebanese capital.

One Lebanese soldier was wounded.

A soldier was also killed and three others wounded in an Israeli military strike on their position in the coastal city of Batroun, north of Beirut, the army said.

It was not clear why Israel appeared to now be targeting the Lebanese army, but it could be to knock out radar capabilities, particularly after the Hezbollah missile attack that severely damaged an Israeli warship off the Beirut coast on Friday.

Israeli helicopters also fired two missiles at the port in the mainly Christian city of Jounieh, north of Beirut, and in Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city.

Northern Israel hit

Also on Saturday, Hezbollah rockets hit towns in northern Israel including Tiberias, 35 kilometres from the border, which was the deepest penetration so far. Several people were reported injured.

by BBC (reposted)
Saturday Jul 15th, 2006 11:57 AM
Israel has expanded its bombardment of Lebanon, attacking a large number of targets across the country.

Warplanes fired rockets on the Lebanon-Syrian border and hit the centre of Beirut for the first time.

More than 80 Lebanese have died, including 18 fleeing border areas, in the strikes launched after Hezbollah militants seized two Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah launched rockets on the town of Tiberias in the deepest such attack in Israel. Four Israelis were injured.

Israel has deployed Patriot interceptor missiles in the northern port city of Haifa which was hit by rockets earlier.

One Israeli soldier was killed and three were missing from a warship struck by Hezbollah on Friday.

In an emotional appeal on Lebanese television, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora called for an immediate ceasefire and urged the US to intervene.

"Lebanon is a disaster zone... and (it) pleads to its friends in the world to rush to its aid," he said.

Following emergency talks in Egypt, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the Middle East peace process had failed and urged the UN Security Council to tackle the crisis.

In other Israeli attacks on Saturday:

* Warplanes struck the northern port city of Tripoli, and carried out raids in north and north-eastern Lebanon for the first time

* strikes targeted the port and a lighthouse in the capital Beirut

* the headquarters of Hezbollah were destroyed in a series of strikes on Beirut's southern suburbs - a Hezbollah stronghold

* three civilians were killed in an Israeli attack in Hermel, on the border with Syria, Hezbollah's al-Manar TV said

* warplanes also targeted sites in the eastern city of Baalbek.

'Bodies litter road'

Women and children were among those killed when their vehicles were struck by missiles on the coastal road to the southern city of Tyre.

"Bodies litter the road," an eyewitness said.

Local residents told al-Jazeera TV the victims had been hit after being told to leave the village of Marwahin by the Israelis and then refused shelter by the UN forces.

The main road had been under continuous bombardment, Ahmad Ali Ubayd said.

The Israeli Army said the responsibility for endangering the civilian population rested with Hezbollah, and they regretted civilian casualties while targeting areas used as a launching ground for missiles.

Correspondents say there is nowhere safe to go for many trying to flee the south.

In past hostilities, much of the mainly Shia population of the south has sought refuge in Beirut's largely Shia southern suburbs, which are now under attack too.

A number of bridges, petrol stations and key roads have also been hit, including the main road linking northern Lebanon to Syria.

Thousands have fled into Syria.

Thousands of foreigners have also left Beirut, leaving its economy in tatters.

Countries including the US and France are making plans to evacuate their nationals from Lebanon.
by reposted
Saturday Jul 15th, 2006 11:57 AM
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Saturday said Israeli attacks had turned his country into a "disaster zone."

Israeli warplanes struck Lebanese ports, the capital Beirut and the border area near Syria as Hezbollah launched scores of rockets from Lebanon into Israel on the fourth day of violence.

Siniora called for an immediate cease-fire and international help to stop attacks from what he called Israel's "war machine," according to CNN's translation.

He said Israel was "punishing all Lebanese collectively, with their actions lacking any moral or legal legitimacy."

An Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman said after Siniora's televised address that Lebanon triggered the crisis by failing to disarm Hezbollah.
Civilians killed

Israel intensified its attacks from air, sea and land Saturday on targets such as Beirut and the ports of Tripoli, Amchit and Junieh, according to Lebanese media.

Israel's campaign began when Hezbollah militants based in Lebanon abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three others during a raid into Israel Wednesday. Israel vowed to free the soldiers.

At least 85 Lebanese civilians and two soldiers have died in the Israeli attacks. Four Israeli civilians, eight soldiers and one sailor have died, Israeli authorities said. Three sailors are missing.