In a dramatic escalation in operations against its northern neighbour Lebanon, Israel has attacked Beirut international airport. It says it intends to impose an air, sea, and land blockade on the country. The aim is to pressure the Lebanese government to do something about Hizbollah, which launched cross-border raids on Israel yesterday in which seven soldiers died and two were taken prisoner.
Two runways were hit with rockets closing the airport and forcing flights to divert to other middle eastern destinations. Twelve bridges were also destroyed as Israel struck at transport links, cutting the main north-south motorway between Tyre and Sidon. After the skies, the sea. Israeli ships are in Lebanese waters and bombarding what they say are Hizbollah’s coastal positions.
In retaliation Hizbollah launched dozens of rockets at the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, killing at least one person. It is the heaviest fighting in the area for a decade, and on the Lebanese side of the frontier some 40 people have died since the dawn raids began. Israeli planes also attacked Hizbollah’s television station in a southern Beirut suburb, which Israel warned Lebanon to evacuate, as it believes Hizbollah’s leader is hiding there.