Ear-splitting blasts echoed over Beirut in the early hours as a fuel storage depot in a Christian suburb of the Lebanese capital was hit. Air bombardments have also shaken Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city. Israel is demanding not only the return of its two soldiers but that Shi’ite guerrillas Hezbollah disarm.
That is a task that is thought to be beyond the fragile Lebanese government, which is dependent on consensus among rival sectarian groups. This conflict is Israel’s most destructive assault on Lebanon since a 1982 invasion.