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The BBC's Hilary Andersson
"Now a peace deal seems remote"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Strikes follow Israeli attack
UN troops
UN troops: On the front line in Lebanon
Hezbollah guerrillas have fired Katyusha rockets into northern Israel following an Israeli artillery attack in Lebanon.

The rockets fired from southern Lebanon landed near an Israeli village in western Galilee, causing minor damage.

Israeli radio reported that two civilians had been injured by shrapnel.

The earlier Israeli attack killed one Syrian and wounded three others, when a shell struck their home in Majdal Zoun, near the southern port city of Tyre.

The attacks came a day after Israel officially informed the United Nations of its intention to withdraw its forces from southern Lebanon by July, after a 22-year occupation.

The civilians injured in the Israeli attack were among tens of thousands of Syrians who work on construction sites and plantation fields across Lebanon.

Mohamad Radi was killed while his brother Mansour Radi, another relative Mohamad Mansour Radi and Haytham Abdel Karim Owaidan were wounded and taken to hospital in Tyre, Lebanese police said.

The shelling followed Hezbollah attacks on Israeli troop positions in the eastern sector of the occupied zone, in which a soldier was wounded.

Hezbollah - which has Syrian and Iranian backing - is fighting against Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon.

Withdrawal

Israel formally undertook on Monday to withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon by July 2000, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak: Troops out by July
A 4,500-strong UN force currently monitors the clashes between Israel and Hezbollah fighters.

There are fears that the pull-out could lead to an escalation in hostilities.

Israel has maintained a 15km (nine mile) security zone in southern Lebanon since 1985, saying it is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from cross-border attacks by Islamist militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has vowed to withdraw Israeli forces with or without a peace deal with Syria - the main power in Lebanon.

Syria and Lebanon have opposed a unilateral Israeli withdrawal; correspondents say this is because the guerrilla attacks provide a pressure point in Damascus's efforts to force Israel to return the Golan Heights, captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

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See also:

17 Apr 00 | Middle East
Israel sets withdrawal timetable
06 Apr 00 | Middle East
Lebanon's terms for Israeli pull-out
05 Mar 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Leaving Lebanon
03 Apr 00 | Middle East
Israel's allies to stay in Lebanon
06 Apr 00 | Middle East
Lebanon on UN agenda
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