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Olmert: Israeli Offensive Against Hezbollah Will Continue


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel's offensive against the Islamic militant group Hezbollah will continue, as Israeli warplanes pounded the country for a seventh straight day Tuesday.

Mr. Olmert spoke during a surprise visit Tuesday to Israel's northern city of Haifa, which has been hit by many Hezbollah rockets in recent days.

Earlier, he told a visiting UN delegation that Israel will continue its military campaign until two soldiers captured by Hezbollah are released and Israelis are safe.

About 30 Lebanese, mostly civilians, died in Israeli strikes throughout Lebanon Tuesday, including the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut. Lebanese officials say an attack on an army camp near Beirut killed at least 11 soldiers, while witnesses
say at least six people died when an Israeli bomb hit a house in a village near the Israeli border.

Hezbollah fired at least 100 rockets at northern Israel Tuesday, hitting several towns, including Haifa. A rocket attack on Nahariya, near the Lebanon border, killed one person.

Earlier Tuesday, a top Israeli military officer Major General Udi Adam said fewer Hezbollah rockets were reaching Israel.

Israel's deputy military chief of staff Major General Moshe Kaplinsky said the possibility of an Israeli ground offensive in Lebanon has not been ruled out, but is not being planned at this time.

At least 235 Lebanese and 25 Israelis have died in fighting that erupted after Hezbollah guerrillas abducted two Israeli soldiers during a cross-border raid on July 12th. Prime Minister Olmert accused Iran Tuesday of helping coordinate the capture of the soldiers to divert attention from the controversy on its nuclear weapon program.

Information for this report is provided bu AP, AFP and Reuters.

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