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Israeli Jets Kill 30; No Letup in Militia Attacks

Residents of Beirut scramble to rescue survivors from a building collapsed in an Israeli strike near the city center. Hezbollah fired 135 rockets Monday.
Residents of Beirut scramble to rescue survivors from a building collapsed in an Israeli strike near the city center. Hezbollah fired 135 rockets Monday. (By Spencer Platt -- Getty Images)

At the town of Qasmiyeh, seven people were reported killed by airstrikes apparently aimed at interdicting traffic down the coastal road leading to the border area.

Another six or seven people, including a mother and her daughter, were killed in a half-dozen other villages that came under attack from Israeli bombs, missiles and heavy artillery, according to reports from local officials and Lebanese media.

Explosions were heard echoing across Baalbek, the main city in the Bekaa Valley and a longtime Hezbollah stronghold. One person was killed in a bombing run on roads in the Bekaa Valley, a frequent transit route for Hezbollah munitions and other supplies coming from Syria.

Another Israeli airstrike blasted the area near Masnaa, the main crossing from Syria into Lebanon and a frequent target of warplanes since hostilities began July 12.

Israeli jets hit the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah has its headquarters, and for the first time extended their strikes into the suburb of Al Shiyah, where many Christians live. Ten people were killed in that attack, according to Beirut television stations quoting police on the scene.

Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, warned last week that if Israel struck Beirut, he would order missile strikes against Tel Aviv. It was unclear whether Monday evening's attack would fulfill the conditions of his threat, because it did not hit the city center. Many Lebanese consider Al Shiyah to be part of the capital itself, unlike the southern suburbs.

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet shot down a Hezbollah unmanned drone over the Mediterranean Sea about seven miles west of the Israeli coastal city of Haifa, according to a military official. An Israeli naval vessel plucked the drone from the water, and it was being examined Monday night, officials said.

Airstrikes blasted apart a makeshift bridge north of the southern city of Tyre, severing the main route south for relief supplies, according to witnesses. Relief agencies complained that the delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to displaced families was interrupted.

The bombings in Hula came after what Hezbollah described as sharp clashes between its fighters and Israeli troops maneuvering in the area's rocky hillsides with heavy battle tanks. Four Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting, Hezbollah said. The Israeli military said five were wounded and none killed.

Fighting also broke out near Bint Jbeil to the southwest, according to Hezbollah and the Israeli military, which acknowledged that two Israeli soldiers were killed by an antitank missile fired at their tank and one in a firefight. Seven soldiers were wounded in the two incidents, the military said.

Fifteen Hezbollah fighters were killed, an Israeli spokesman said.

In all, Israel has reported killing 400 Hezbollah fighters, while the radical Shiite Muslim movement has acknowledged losing about 55. A Lebanese source with access to military intelligence estimated Hezbollah losses at more than 200, including fighters and others associated with its war effort such as messengers and truck drivers.

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