Hezbollah rockets strike northern Israel

One Katyusha rocket killed a 15-year-old girl in the village of Meghar in the Galilee region, Israeli police and medical service officials said.

Several people were also injured when more than a dozen Hezbollah rockets landed in at least three different places in Haifa, witnesses said. One rocket struck a seven-story apartment building. The extent of injuries was not immediately known. Hezbollah has launched more than 2,000 rockets against Israel during the conflict, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said.

At least 39 people have died — 17 civilians and 22 soldiers — and at least 370 people have been wounded, primarily civilians, in Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces. In Lebanon, at least 386 people, mostly civilians, have been killed, and more than 1,100 wounded, Lebanese security officials said Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem, vowed to continue the offensive against Hezbollah, despite pleas by Lebanese government officials for an immediate cease-fire.

The United States has been walking a tightrope between supporting Israel’s right to self-defense and trying to avoid destabilizing Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government, which the United States has embraced since it came to power.

Before her visit to Jerusalem, Rice stopped in Beirut to meet with Siniora and other Lebanese leaders.

As Rice and Olmert met, Israeli forces launched airstrikes on the Lebanese coastal city of Tyre, while Hezbollah fired missiles and rockets in response, CNN’s Ben Wedeman reported.Israeli forces also bombarded several small Lebanese villages just across the border.

One Israeli airstrike hit a house in the village of Nabatiye overnight, killing seven people, Lebanese security sources said Tuesday morning.

The IDF did not respond directly to the report but said its military operations have hit dozens of Hezbollah militants in Bint Jbeil, north of Maroun Al-Ras, in southern Lebanon. The Israeli military has dubbed the area Hezbollah’s “terror capital” and Bint Jbeil a Hezbollah rocket-launching site.

The crisis began July 12 after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers during a cross-border raid into Israel. Since then, Israeli artillery and warplanes have been pounding Lebanon in their mission to destroy suspected Hezbollah hideouts, including targets in civilian neighborhoods, and Hezbollah has responded by firing rockets into Israel.

The conflict has devastated Lebanon’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and airports.

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