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Israeli Warplanes Hit Hezbollah Targets, Seven Israelis Killed


Israeli warplanes Thursday struck Hezbollah targets on the outskirts of Beirut as well as Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, along the border with Syria.

The Israeli army, meanwhile, confirmed that two of its soldiers have died in fighting in southern Lebanon, where about 10-thousand Israeli ground troops are engaged in heavy clashes with Hezbollah guerrillas.

The Israeli army says soldiers have seized ground near at least 10 towns and villages in the region.

But Hezbollah continues to fire rockets into northern Israel, and Israeli media say the barrage killed five civilians today.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told an Italian newspaper the military offensive is close to achieving its goal. Israel wants to disarm Hezbollah and push the guerrillas out of southern Lebanon.

Lebanon's prime minister, Fouad Siniora, says the three-week conflict has killed more than 900 people and wounded some three thousand others.

In a video statement to an Islamic conference in Malaysia, Mr. Siniora said about one-third of the casualties are children under 12 years of age.

Hezbollah guerrillas shot more than 230 rockets into Israel Wednesday -- the biggest barrage of the conflict. One person died near the town of Nahariya in northern Israel.
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