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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Dozens die in fresh Lebanon raids
Southern Lebanon is sustaining heavy damage

At least 55 civilians have been killed in Israeli air strikes in Lebanon.

The latest raids hit targets in the east and south of Lebanon, where at least 12 people died in one village.

Two Israeli soldiers died in clashes with Hezbollah militants in the south, after troops crossed the border to look for Hezbollah weapons and facilities.

Three people have been killed by rockets in the city of Nazareth, in the first attack on the largest predominantly Arab city in Israel.

Twenty-eight Israelis have been killed - including 16 civilians killed by rocket attacks - since the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah militants began last Wednesday.

More than 280 Lebanese - mostly civilians - have been killed in the conflict.

Israel launched attacks on Lebanon after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Many thousands of people continue to flee Lebanon, and several countries have sent ships and helicopters to move their nationals.

Heavy ground clashes

Israeli ground troops have continued to mount what they call "restricted pinpoint attacks" across the border in southern Lebanon.

An Israeli man gestures in a damaged house after a Hezbollah missile strike in Haifa

The Israeli army said the clashes had been going on for hours, with heavy exchanges of fire.

An army spokesman told the Associated Press news agency there had been casualties on both sides.

The Israelis say they are fighting to end the control of Hezbollah over the lives of ordinary people on both sides of the border.

"We won't have a terrorist organisation deployed on our northern border and Hezbollah is the one that has destabilised the entire region," Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin told the BBC.

A senior Israeli army commander, Gen Alon Friedman, warned it could take weeks to reach a turning point in the combat.

The BBC's Paul Adams in Jerusalem, who has been talking to UN diplomats, says he understands Israel has no interest in diplomacy at this stage.

Exodus

Navy ships and chartered vessels have been shuttling back and forth between Cyprus and Lebanon to help evacuate foreign nationals.

FOREIGNERS IN LEBANON
Canada: 40,000
Philippines: 30,000
Australia: 25,000
US: 25,000
UK: 22,000 (inc. 10,000 with dual nationality)
France: 20,000
A British warship has dropped off 180 UK citizens in Cyprus, and is returning to Beirut to pick up more people.

A Norwegian ferry has taken hundreds of Norwegians, Swedes and Americans to Cyprus, while a US-chartered ship has left Beirut with US citizens.

Tens of thousands of people - including many Lebanese families - have fled across the border to Syria.

Relief agencies say there is a growing need for water, sanitation and medical facilities for more than 500,000 people displaced within Lebanon.

International diplomacy

Israeli air strikes have been taking place in the east and south of Lebanon.

map

Residents in the southern village of Srifa said at least 10 members of one family died, and reports suggest many more were killed in other houses.

At least six people died in the southern town of Nabatiyeh, while civilian deaths were also reported in other parts of the south and near Baalbek in the east.

Israeli planes also struck Beirut, with a Christian district coming under fire for the first time, as well as more Hezbollah rocket attacks on the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

HAVE YOUR SAY
It isn't easy watching the pictures from the bombarded areas in Lebanon
Yonatan, Israel

No deaths were reported in either incident.

Diplomatic efforts are continuing. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Afterwards Mr Solana condemned the capture of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah and called for a ceasefire.

A UN team that has been in the region over the past few days is preparing to fly back to New York to brief Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is due to address the Security Council on Thursday.

Israel also conducted separate operations in Palestinian areas.

At least nine Palestinians have been killed in fresh Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank.


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See the warships transporting people away from Lebanon





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