Friday Israeli planes continued air strikes on Beirut allegedly targeting "Hizballah" offices, the home of a high-ranking "Hizballah" official and the building used by the ruling Palestinian organization "Hamas". Furthermore, Israeli planes bombed the three bridges linking Beirut with the northern part of the country. The runways of the international airport equipped to receive foreign humanitarian aid have been destroyed.
Despite the proposals to settle the conflict by diplomatic means made by "Hizballah" leader sheikh Hasan Nasralla, Israeli army units are intensifying their advance on "Hizballah" positions. Yesterday the Israeli command reported that 11 localities had been occupied in southern Lebanon. Israel proposes to mop up the area from the border to the Litany river, 20 kilometers inside Lebanon, so that an international force could be deployed on the territory.
To all appearances, the Israeli armed forces are not going to gear down their operations. Israel's defense minister Amir Perets has given orders to the troops to get ready for advancing further north, over the Litany river. The ground operation has to be approved by the government headed by Ehud Olmert, as the troops would in that case overstep the boundary of the so-called "security zone" in Southern Lebanon.
As for the forces opposing the Jewish state, during the past 24 hours "Hizballah" launched about 200 rockets in the direction of Israel, most of them landing in northern Israeli cities. Eight Israelis died in the shelling, and dozens of motorcars were burned or damaged.
In the meantime, officials in Beirut say that it is civilians who die in the Israeli air-raids. Thus, yesterday a Lebanese family was killed when an Israeli bomb hit their house in Taibeh. Nevertheless, Israel continues to intensify air-raids, and leaflets have been dropped over Beirut's southern part, advising local inhabitants to evacuate from dangerous areas.
Meanwhile, the world community is increasingly taking an anti-Israeli stance. Thus, yesterday Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez recalled the Venezuelan ambassador from Israel. He announced the recall in Caracas Thursday night, at the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the liberation struggle launched by the national hero, Francisco de Miranda. Explaining the reasons for the recall, Hugo Chavez said that "Venezuela cannot be an impartial observer of American planes with Israeli identification marks bombing Lebanon and Palestine, bringing destruction and death to hundreds of innocent people, children and women".
Even the United States – Israel's main ally and supporter - is already becoming critical of the Israeli military action. According to Western media, US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice, when told about the start of air-raids on Beirut and the extent of the city's destruction, was heard to say that Israel "has gone too far".