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Israel Strikes Militant Targets In Lebanon

  • VOA News

Israeli fighter jets have bombed Syrian-backed Palestinian and Lebanese militants in Lebanon in retaliation for the firing of rockets into northern Israel.

The warplanes on Sunday hit sites near Beirut, in the Bekaa Valley and along the Lebanese border, killing a member of the radical Islamic group Hezbollah and a Palestinian militant. Two Lebanese civilians were wounded.

During the air strikes, Israeli troops and guerillas exchanged fire for hours in the fiercest cross-border violence seen this year. Residents of Israeli communities were ordered into bomb shelters. The attacks from Lebanon wounded two Israeli soldiers.

U.N. peacekeepers later said they had secured a ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned his country would launch harsh responses to any attacks by Lebanese-based militants. Israeli authorities said they also planned to take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

A Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the rocket barrage into Israel. The group said it was retaliating for Israel's killing of one of its leaders and his brother in a car bombing in southern Lebanon on Friday. Israel has denied involvement.

Islamic Jihad later retracted its initial claim.

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