Hezbollah fighters killed three Israeli soldiers in fighting along the southern Lebanon border yesterday.
This was after a night of air attacks by Israeli jets on the southern suburbs of Beirut when a block of flats with sleeping families in it was bombed, with eighteen dead.
Rescue workers were still searching yesterday morning for 26 people missing after two residential buildings collapsed during the same bombing raid.
One Israeli soldier was killed and five were wounded when they came under fire from anti-tank missiles near the town of Bint Jubayl.
Another was killed and several were wounded when Hezbollah fighters destroyed an Israeli tank on the outskirts of the village of Ainata.
The Israelis admitted to a third soldier being killed with five others wounded by an anti-tank missile in the Lebanese village of Dabel.
Israel claimed ‘at least fifteen’ Hezbollah fighters were killed in fighting in the same village but this has been denied by Hezbollah.
Yesterday, repeated Israeli air strikes and hundreds of artillery shells hit the southern town of Khiam.
One air strike destroyed a three-storey school building in the village of Maaroub, 15 kilometres east of the southern city of Tyre.
The school’s janitor survived but his wife, three children and a teacher were buried under the rubble.
More than a thousand Lebanese civilians have been killed as well as 99 Israeli soldiers, since the Israeli assault on Lebanon was launched on July 12.
Hezbollah has continued to fire rockets at northern Israel.
In New York, representatives from the United Nations security council, together with Lebanese, Arab and Israeli diplomats continued to argue over a cease-fire resolution.
Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet is meeting today to decide whether to expand its military offensive.
Amir Peretz, Israel’s defence minister, told the Israeli cabinet yesterday: ‘I have instructed all the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) commanders to prepare for an operation aimed at taking over launching areas to reduce as much as possible Hezbollah’s rocket launching capability.’
In a reference to the UN meeting, he added: ‘If we see that the diplomatic efforts do not yield the results we expect, we will have to do it ourselves.’
Israeli aircraft yesterday dropped leaflets over Lebanon’s southern port city of Tyre, warning that any vehicle moving south of the Litani river would be attacked.
The leaflets also repeated earlier calls for the city’s residents to leave Tyre which is 8km south of the Litani.
Israeli aircraft have already bombed roads and destroyed bridges leading to the city.
Israeli prime minister Olmert said that his government had imposed ‘no limits’ to Israel’s military offensive.
Arab ministers arrived in New York yesterday to call on the UN to meet the Lebanese government’s seven point plan for a ceasefire.
This states that every Israeli soldier must withdraw from Lebanese territory and the million displaced Lebanese be allowed to return safely.