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Israeli Forces Push Deeper Into Lebanon

An Israeli helicopter crashed in northern Israel after hitting an electrical wire while making an emergency landing, killing both pilots.

Hezbollah said it caused Israeli casualties in hits on five tanks on the road to Bint Jbail and around Maroun al-Ras, a hilltop village closer to the border that Israeli ground forces seized in heavy weekend fighting.

Israel said its troops captured two Hezbollah guerrillas, the first it had taken in the Lebanon fighting. Brig. Gen. Alon Friedman said they are being held in Israel "with the aim of interrogating them."

Hezbollah continued its missile attacks on northern Israel, firing more than 80 rockets and slightly wounding 13. Militants fired 95 rockets on Sunday and 129 on Saturday, the Israeli military said. U.N. observers in south Lebanon said the Israeli numbers appear accurate.

Sunday was one of the heaviest days of Israeli bombardment, with 270 targets, compared with 120 the day before, according to the military.

At least 384 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 20 soldiers and 11 Hezbollah fighters, according to security officials. At least 600,000 Lebanese have fled their homes, according to the WHO _ with an estimate by Lebanon's finance minister putting the number at 750,000, nearly 20 percent of the population.

Israel's death toll stands at 39, with 17 people killed by Hezbollah rockets and 22 soldiers killed in the fighting.

Up to 40 percent of the 200,000 Lebanese who live in villages along territory closest to the border are likely still in their homes, unable or too afraid to move because of Israeli shelling, U.N. observers said.

More foreigners fled Lebanon by sea from Beirut. A Greek ferry commissioned by European countries arrived in Tyre and took on hundreds of stranded foreigners.

A group of 300 Americans and 100 other Europeans were believed trapped in villages south of Tyre, said Erik Rattat, a German official involved in the operation. It did not appear that they made it to the ship. An Associated Press reporter at the scene an hour before it left said they had not arrived, and the U.S. Embassy could not immediately say if they had reached the ship in time.

Some 11,700 Americans have fled Lebanon, the State Department said. U.S. Consul William Gill said most Americans who wanted to leave had done so by Sunday.

President Bush ordered a fleet of U.S. helicopters and ships to carry badly needed humanitarian supplies into Lebanon.


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© 2006 The Associated Press