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Violence Continues in Lebanon and Israel

July 19, 2006 at 6:35 PM EST
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JIM LEHRER: And, again, we launch our coverage of the Middle East story with two reports from Independent Television News correspondents. First, Tim Ewart in Lebanon.

TIM EWART, ITV News Correspondent: Beirut is a city of high drama, and the tension is rising. There was constant military activity today, as the rescue operation gathered pace. And there was a growing sense of urgency among foreign passport-holders trying to flee the country.

FOREIGN TOURIST IN LEBANON: I’m really desperate to get out, yes.

TIM EWART: How is it looking? What are your chances?

FOREIGN TOURIST IN LEBANON: I don’t know. I’m really scared. I don’t know what to do. I have no idea.

TIM EWART: This made things worse: Israeli rockets hit a Christian area of the city in the neighborhood which is home to large numbers of foreigners. The targets included trucks, possibly mistaken for rocket launchers. The Israelis haven’t hit areas like this before, and there was immediate alarm.

What’s happened here has caused more panic than damage, but it has raised questions about the boundaries of the Israeli attacks. At Beirut’s port, British warships were back for the second day. They carried more than 500 people to Cyprus, British passport-holders who had been called to a rendezvous in the center of the city early in the morning.

This cruise liner was waiting to transport 1,000 Americans in style. There were Brazilian hostesses to greet them and a fruit punch to send them on their way. The Canadians, by contrast, were queuing in the baking sun. More ships will be back tomorrow.

A report from Israel

JIM LEHRER: Next, ITN correspondent Kylie Morris in Israel.

KYLIE MORRIS, ITV News Correspondent: Hezbollah's rockets striking home deep inside Israel. Already, they've struck the coast of Haifa. This afternoon, it was Nazareth to the east.

Israeli sources say two people from the city's majority Arab population were killed when this building was hit. Israel's military now says Hezbollah has fired as many as a thousand rockets, and it still blames Syria and Iran for supplying them.

IDO NEHUSHTAN, Deputy Commander, Israeli Air Force: Where are these rockets coming from? They have over 10,000 of them, launching from Lebanese territory as we speak. This has to be changed.

KYLIE MORRIS: Israel is putting its faith in these soldiers to be agents of change. They've begun pinpoint raids in Lebanese territory to support their air strikes at Hezbollah's infrastructure.

The campaign is costing hundreds of lives though. This afternoon, Israel confirmed two soldiers were killed in fierce fighting on the border. Others injured were flown to hospitals in Haifa.

A week ago, it was the abduction of two soldiers which precipitated this campaign, but now the military admits its objective has shifted.

IDO NEHUSHTAN: We're not looking only for the return of the two soldiers; we're talking about changing the situation alongside the border with Lebanon.

KYLIE MORRIS: The army has called up more reservists to join the fight. It warns that the campaign to cripple and dismantle Hezbollah won't be over in a matter of days, it will take much longer.