Israel has launched a fresh wave of air strikes on Lebanon, extending its military campaign to the north of the country.
Nine Lebanese soldiers were killed in the latest raids near Tripoli. They followed a strike yesterday on the port town of Tyre, which left at least 10 people dead. The Israeli military campaign in Lebanon has claimed more than 160 lives – most of them civilians. It’s Israel’s most destructive bombing campaign since a 1982 invasion to expel Palestinian guerrillas.
Diplomatic efforts have done little so far to ease the fighting, which erupted last week after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers. Since then Israel has been seeking to neutralise the militant group’s firepower. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has promised further retaliation though, and says the battle is just beginning.
Italy has stepped into the fray, Prime Minister Romano Prodi offering to take a leading role in efforts to stem the cross-border bombardments. Meanwhile, France, Britain and a host of other nations have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon. Many have already fled to neighbouring Syria to escape the fighting.