Ignoring growing calls for a ceasefire, Israel has started moving deeper into Lebanon after receiving the green light from its security cabinet. Despite announcing a 48-hour suspension of air strikes on Sunday night, Israeli jets have resumed attacks on the south and the east of the country. Israel is adamant there can be no truce before Hizbollah has been disarmed and removed from southern Lebanon.
The ground operation is expected to extend several kilometres into the south, possibly up to the strategic boundary formed by the Litani river, some 20 kilometres north of the border. Another senior government member says the Israeli army needs up to two more weeks to complete its objectives. Prime minister Ehud Olmert himself said there was no sign fighting would end soon.
The official death toll on the Lebanese side exceeds 600 although it is thought to be considerably higher as many bodies remain buried under rubble. Fifty one Israelis have been killed in the conflict. UN talks on a mobilising an international force have been postponed to later this week.