Israel's cabinet has authorized what it called a "severe" response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese Islamic militant group Hezbollah.
The cabinet announced its response after an emergency meeting Wednesday night.
Sources say the cabinet approved airstrikes against Hezbollah facilities and Lebanese infrastructure, with the stated aim of removing the Hezbollah threat from Israel's northern border.
Hezbollah captured the soldiers in a cross-border raid early Wednesday. Israel later moved troops into southern Lebanon. Eight Israeli soldiers have been killed in efforts to find the soldiers, including four when an Israeli tank exploded.
Israeli warplanes have carried out airstrikes in Lebanon, hitting Hezbollah targets and a series of bridges. Lebanese officials say their airstrikes killed at least two Lebanese civilians.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the soldiers' capture "an act of war" by Lebanon, which has denied responsibility for the kidnapping.
The United States demanded the immediate release of the two captured soldiers and said it holds Iran and Syria responsible for the new outburst of Middle East violence. Hezbollah receives support from Iran and Syria.
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, submitted a formal complaint to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, calling the kidnapping of the two Israelis an act of war.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said only a prisoner swap will free the soldiers. Israel said it will not negotiate a prisoner release. This is Israel's first major incursion into Lebanon since it withdrew from that country six years ago.