Israel is trying to create a Hizbollah-free border zone of several kilometres. The justice minister says the army aims to make sure there are no Hizbollah fighters within 20 kilometres of the Israeli frontier. Hours after soldiers seized a strategic border village, planes continued drop bombs on Beirut and parts of eastern and southern Lebanon. In the southern city of Tyre, reporters have described long lines of taxis and cars negotiating bomb-cratered roads, many waving white flags. Israel has issued warnings to civilians in the south, telling them to leave. However many say they are reluctant to go without UN protection. The southern port of Sidon has taken the brunt of Israel’s latest airstrikes.
It is reported that Israel believes it has US approval to continue operations against Hizbollah for another week. A senior UN official has described the repeated bombing of a crowded Beirut neighbourhood as “horrific”. Block after block has been flattened in 12 consecutive days of strikes.
Air raids have also hit transmission stations used by several Lebanese television channels and a mobile phone mast north of the capital. The casualty figures are continuing to rise on both sides. More than 350 Lebanese have been killed in the 12-day offensive – mainly civilians. Around 35 Israelis have died in Hizbollah rocket attacks.