ROCKETS REACH DEEP INTO ISRAEL
RUSSIA, CHINA, GREECE, FRANCE SOUND WARNINGS
EXPLOSIVE G8 LOOMS FOR WEEKEND
UPDATE : Israel has bombed the road to Damascus (Syria), where thousands of tourists are now fleeing to escape the attacks on Beirut....Brazil has announced at least four of its citizens have been killed in airstrikes....Hizzbulah denies hitting Israel city of Haifa..."Acts Of War" calls from all sides...At least 80 Lebanese civilians dead, 10 Israelis, 300+ wounded...
Lebanon is now copping the early stages of Israel's trademark 'defence' strategy : Collective Punishment.
A massive exchange of rocket fire is underway and the civilian casualties are mounting.
Israel claims to be only trying to rescue its captured soldiers, but it's obvious this is an excuse to, in the brutally honest words of one IDF commander, send Lebanon back twenty years.
From the Associated Press :
"Israel has hit hundreds of targets in Lebanon...
"Hezbollah guerrillas launched more than 80 rockets and mortars into Israel on Thursday.
"Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, blasting Beirut's airport and two Lebanese army air bases near the Syrian border, and imposing a naval blockade. More than 50 people have died in violence following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants."Warplanes punched holes in the runways of Beirut's international airport and two military air bases, attacks that could draw the Lebanese army into the conflict.
"Speaking to reporters, Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, the chief of Israel's northern command, said Israel was targeting infrastructure in Lebanon that held rockets and other arsenals belong to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah guerrillas launched more than 80 rockets and mortars into Israel on Thursday.
"'I imagine over time that we will be able to rid ourselves of this threat entirely,' he said.
"He also said the army was not ruling out sending ground troops into Lebanon.
"Israel's army chief Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz warned that "nothing is safe" in Lebanon...Beirut itself would be a target.
"Two days of Israeli bombings, the heaviest air campaign against its neighbor in 24 years, had killed 47 Lebanese and wounded 103, Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife said. Besides the Israeli civilian, eight Israeli soldiers had also been killed.
"Both sides played a high stakes game following the capture of the two soldiers by Hezbollah: Israel sought to end Hezbollah's presence on the border, while the guerrillas insisted on trading the captured soldiers for Arab prisoners.
"Trapped between the two sides was Lebanon, which Israel said it held responsible for Hezbollah's actions. The Lebanese government insisted it had no prior knowledge of the Hezbollah raid and did not condone it.
"The European Union criticized Israel for using what it called "disproportionate" force in its attacks and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he was planning a peace mission.
"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Israel's Lebanon offensive "is raising our fears of a new regional war" and urged world powers to intervene.
"The eight Israeli soldiers killed so far is the highest death toll for the army in four years
"After hitting roads and bridges in the south all day Wednesday, Israel dramatically expanded its campaign Thursday with their biggest offensive in Lebanon since Israel's 1982 invasion.
"Israeli warships imposed a naval blockade of Lebanese ports, and the Israeli military said it could also target the Beirut-to-Damascus highway, the main land link between Lebanon and the outside world.
"Military jets attacked runways at the Rayak air base in the eastern Bekaa Valley, police said, and at the Qoleiat air base near the Syrian border in the north. Rayak, four miles west of the Syrian border, is home to the country's main military air base and is military headquarters in eastern Lebanon.
"An Israeli missile hit Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV studios in southern Beirut....
"A Lebanese family of 10 and another family of seven were killed in their homes in the village of Dweir, Lebanese officials said.
"Hezbollah fired rockets at the northern Israeli towns of Safed, Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, and Carmiel, saying it was using a rocket called "Thunder 1" for the first time. The missiles appeared to be more advanced than the inaccurate Katyusha - the standard Hezbollah rocket."
Russia, EU Slam Israel For Violence, Warn Of Escalations
Russia and the European Union said there could be no justification for Israel's air and sea blockade on Lebanon.President Bush is expected to face some heavy pressure over the US's backing of Israel in this war when he faces Russia, China and EU countries at the G8 summit in Moscow this weekend.
"Actions, which are contrary to international humanitarian law, can only aggravate the vicious circle of violence and retribution," the EU presidency said in a statement.
The comments came as a three-strong United Nations team headed to the Middle East in an attempt to defuse the crisis.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, denounced both Israel's attack on Lebanon and its operations against the occupied Palestinian territories.
"This is a disproportionate response to what has happened and if both sides are going to drive each other into a tight corner then I think that all this will develop in a very dramatic and tragic way," Interfax news agency reported him as saying.
Iran Tells Israel There Will Be A Fierce Response If They Hit Syria
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered an attack on the whole Islamic world that would bring a "fierce response", state television reported. "If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Did Bush Give A Warning To Israel Over Escalating The Crises?
2 Million Israelis Under Threat Of Rocket Attacks
Lebanon Says It Doesn't Control Hizzbulah