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Israel Prepares Ground Offensive in Southern Lebanon


Israel is pounding targets across Lebanon for a 10th day as it prepares an expected ground invasion of southern Lebanon.

Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Friday ground incursions are necessary if Israel is to neutralize the missile threat from Hezbollah.

The Israeli army says it is calling up thousands of military reservists, and Israeli planes dropped leaflets over southern Lebanon warning civilians to move north of the Litani River, about 30 kilometers from the Israeli border.

CNN has shown live pictures of Israeli tanks lining up today on a main road leading into southern Lebanon.

In Beirut, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said today the Lebanese army will fight what he called Israel's "invading force."

Until now, Lebanon's army has failed to deploy in southern Lebanon, leaving the area to Hezbollah guerrillas.

Hezbollah fired more rockets at Israeli towns and the port city of Haifa today. Medics in Haifa say at least 10 Israelis were wounded.

The Israeli army says four of its soldiers and an unknown number of guerrillas were killed in Thursday's heavy fighting just inside the Lebanese border.

Also on Thursday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group will not release two captured Israeli soldiers without an exchange of Arab and Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Nasrallah spoke on the Arabic television network al-Jazeera, one day after Israeli warplanes bombed a Hezbollah bunker in southern Beirut. Nasrallah said no Hezbollah leader was harmed in the bombing.

Lebanese officials say more than 300 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli attacks. Israel says it has lost more than 30 people since July 12th, when Hezbollah captured the two Israeli soldiers
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