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Israel Defends Use Of Cluster Bombs

Israeli soldiers carry a wounded colleague injured in fighting on July 24 near Beit Jbeil (epa) July 25, 2006 -- The Israeli Army has defended the use of cluster bombs in its military offensive in Lebanon as "legal under international law."

Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using the bombs in an attack on the Lebanese village of Bilda on July 19.

Earlier today, the Israeli Army announced that it had taken a second Hizballah stronghold in southern Lebanon. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the battle for Beit Jbeil.

Beit Jbeil lies north of Marun al-Rus, a strategic hilltop village that was captured by Israel over the weekend.

For the first time, Israel today appeared to put a limit on how far its troops and tanks would advance into Lebanon. Israeli commander Colonel Hemi Livni said he knew of no plan to go deep inside Lebanon.

An estimated 390 Lebanese and 41 Israelis have been killed in 14 days of fighting.

(AP, dpa, Reuters)