Israeli strike kills 23 farm workers

At least 23 farm workers have died after Israeli aircraft fired missiles at vehicles in a farm near the Lebanon-Syria border, Lebanese officials said on Friday.
An additional 20 people were wounded in the attack and taken to hospital, while there are reports that some victims remain buried in rubble.

An alJazeera correspondent in Lebanon said the targeted area is near to where trucks gathered to transport supplies to civilians.

The death toll in the border attack is one of the highest since the Israeli offensive into Lebanon began three weeks ago following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah fighters in a cross border raid.

News of the attack came as two Israelis were also killed in further rocket attacks on northern Israel by Hezbollah fighters.

Hezbollah fighters fired at least 120 rockets on Friday, killing one woman in the Arab village of Mugharm and an Israeli man also died near the town of Kiryat Shmona, Israeli police said.

A third person was killed in the northern Arab village of Majdel Krum, reports said.

Arab television networks also reported on Friday that five Israeli soldiers had been killed in southern Lebanon, while Hezbollah fighters said they had destroyed an Israeli tank in the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab.

In a speech on Friday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, said that his fighters would attack Tel Aviv if Israel targeted central Beirut.

Later, Tel Aviv officials published details of bomb shelters in the city for civilians to use should an attack occur.

‘Outbreaks’ fear

Israeli attacks also continued in Lebanon on Friday, with Israeli aircraft bombing bridges and other targets in the north and south of the country.

Aid agencies fear disease outbreaks
if the bombing continues
Warplanes struck four bridges along Lebanon’s coastal highway that connects the capital with the north of the country, destroying the main bridge near the “Casino du Liban,” in the Christian port of Juniyeh, as well as two others along the same road.

At least five people were killed in the strikes and more than 10 injured, the International Committee for the Red Cross aid agency said.

The bridges were practically the only useable road leading out of the country after Israel’s bombardment of roads to border crossing points east of the country and relief agencies warned their destruction would make the distribution of food and medical supplies much harder.

“It’s really a major setback because we used this highway to move staff and supplies into the country,” said Astrid van Genderen Stort of the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. “If we don’t have new material coming in, we will basically be paralysed.”

Meanwhile the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) said that south Lebanon faced dire drinking water and fuel shortages which threatened the outbreak of epidemics if Israel continued bombarding the country.

“The situation is getting desperate. If shortages continue we may be witnessing outbreaks,” Paul Sherlock, a Unicef adviser, said on Friday.

Egypt meeting

The situation is getting desperate. If shortages continue we may be witnessing outbreaks,”

Paul Sherlock, a Unicef adviser
On the diplomatic front, the US and French ambassadors at the UN remained locked in talks on Friday over the wording of a Security Council resolution on halting the fighting in Lebanon, diplomats said.

The UK government also announced on Friday that Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, had postponed his summer holiday to continue working on a UN resolution calling for a cease-fire to the conflict.

Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers are planning to hold an emergency meeting in Beirut on Monday to press for a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Friday.

Arab nations have repeatedly called for a cease-fire since hostilities began last month. However, Israel and the US have so far resisted, saying they want a more long-term agreement for the future of Lebanon.

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