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Israel's defence minister threatens to expand the fighting

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Israel's defence minister threatens to expand the fighting

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As a fresh wave of rockets fell on Northern Israel the country’s defence minister has threatened to expand ground operations against Hizbollah if there is no progress in diplomatic efforts to end the war. Defence Minister Amir Peretz said: “If the developing political process stops the rockets being fired then Israel will say it has changed the situation in the north, but the Israeli Defence Force has instructions to act without taking the political process into consideration.”

Peretz spoke after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had met top defence officials to discuss widening the air and ground offensive. Reportedly at the meeting, Peretz had urged a further Israeli advance to the Litani River, 20 kilometres inside southern Lebanon.

Earlier on Monday dozens of missiles caused more damage and injuries in Kiryat Shmona. That follows on from Sunday’s deadly attacks that killed fifteen people including a dozen army reservists. In Haifa half a dozen missiles landed in a crowded residential area. Some Israeli government ministers are reported to be growing frustrated with the army’s inability to stop the rocket attacks which have killed close to 50 people.