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Israeli Army Warns Sidon Residents To Evacuate --> Over half the population of southern Lebanon has reportedly already fled the violence (epa) August 5, 2006 -- The Israeli military dropped leaflets over the southern Lebanese city of Sidon today, asking residents to leave their homes and head north.

The army says the move is an attempt to minimize civilian casualties ahead of planned air strikes on Hizballah rocket-launching sites.

Tens of thousands of people have taken refuge in Sidon, Lebanon's third-largest city, to escape Israeli air strikes elsewhere in the south.

Israeli officials say a barrage of Hizballah rockets hit the cities of Haifa and Nahariya today, as well as a number of villages. Reports say at least five people were wounded.

The Israeli military says eight of its soldiers have been wounded in fighting near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre. Earlier today, Hizballah said it had repulsed an attempt by Israeli commandoes to land near the port city.

Israeli aircraft also resumed their bombardment of Beirut's southern suburbs today.

(Reuters, AP)
The Middle East Crisis
Israeli tanks poised on the border with Lebanon on August 2 (epa)

CLASH OF ARMS: Since mid-July, Israel has been battling Hizballah guerrillas in southern Lebanon and carrying out punishing air strikes throughout the country. International efforts to broker a cease-fire have met with one obstacle after another, as civilian casualties mount and a humanitarian crisis unfolds. Since Hizballah is closely supported by Syria and Iran, the conflict threatens constantly to develop into a regional conflagration.... (more)


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