Israel has decided to increase air attacks in southern Lebanon, and has authorized its army to call up 30-thousand reserve soldiers in case the fighting in Lebanon intensifies.
During an emergency meeting Thursday, Israeli officials approved increased airstrikes against Hezbollah militants, but decided against expanding the army's riskier ground operations.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says the Jewish state is preparing for any possible development in the fighting. He said Israel will not allow Hezbollah to remain along its border or continue to pose a threat to Israeli territory.
In Lebanon, the country's health minister, Muhammed Jawad Khalifeh said up to 600 Lebanese are now believed to have been killed since the fighting began earlier this month, including hundreds possibly still buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings.
At least three Lebanese were killed in Israeli air and artillery strikes Thursday. Hezbollah also fired more rockets into northern Israeli, hitting several buildings.
Backed by warplanes, Israeli tanks and troops have been trying to create a buffer zone in southern Lebanon. Middle East analysts, however, say it is not likely Israel will be able to completely disarm Hezbollah.
They say Hezbollah receives about 100-million dollars a year from Iran, and that its Iranian-supplied weaponry is transported through Syria to Hezbollah's stronghold in southern Lebanon.