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Last Updated: Wednesday July 12 2006 17:15 GMT

Israeli soldiers seized in raid

Israeli airstrike on Lebanon

Two Israeli soldiers have been captured in a cross-border raid by Lebanon's Hezbollah group as the violence in the Middle East continues.

The group's leader says they will be returned if talks are held and certain prisoners in Israeli jails are freed.

In response, Israel launched an assault in southern Lebanon, using planes, tanks and gun boats.

It follows the capture of another Israeli soldier by Palestinian forces in a raid on a patrol two weeks ago.

Hezbollah says it wants the return of Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The group's leader said: "The prisoners in our hands will not return to Israel except through indirect negotiations and exchange of prisoners and peace."

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan both condemned Israel's assault on Lebanon and called for the soldiers' release.