As the fighting continues on both sides, Hizbollah has confirmed that the Israeli army has occupied a key border village. The Shi’ite guerrillas say three of their fighters were killed in the battle for Maroun al-Ras. Earlier the Israeli justice minister said the army’s aim was to make sure there are no Hizbollah fighters within 20 kilometres of the Israeli frontier. Meanwhile an unarmed Italian UN military observer was wounded in clashes in the area, although the Italian army says his life is not in danger.
Warplanes have bombarded southern Lebanon, killing at least two villagers and a Lebanese journalist. Beirut has endured its 12th consecutive day of attacks, with a fresh wave of bombing in the south of the city this afternoon. A senior UN official described the repeated pounding of the crowded neighbourhood as “horrific”.
Block after block has been destroyed in strikes on the Hizbollah stronghold. Planes have dropped bombs here nearly every night since the offensive began. The Israeli government says its military is trying to be as precise as possible. The southern port city of Tyre was one of those which bore the brunt of Israeli airstrikes overnight, with at least six civilians killed. As the country’s infrastructure lies in ruins, a Syrian newspaper reported that Damascus is providing Lebanon with electricity 24 hours a day.
Elsewhere, a dozen Israeli raids in the eastern Bekaa Valley have killed at least one civilian and wounded seven others. Meanwhile, the two soldiers whose capture by Hizbollah sparked the clashes are said to be safe and well.