Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says two captured Israeli soldiers will not be released without a prisoner exchange with Israel, as the Jewish state continued its offensive in Lebanon for a ninth straight day.
Nasrallah spoke Thursday on the Arabic television network al-Jazeera, one day after Israeli warplanes bombed a bunker in southern Beirut where senior Hezbollah leaders were thought to be holed up. He said none of the group's leaders was harmed in the airstrike.
He also denied Israeli claims that 50 percent of Hezbollah's rockets have been destroyed in the fighting.
On Thursday, Israeli warplanes pounded targets across Lebanon, and more heavy fighting erupted between Israeli ground forces and Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon.
Israeli sources say two Israeli soldiers were killed and several wounded in heavy fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas just inside the Lebanon border. Israel says an unknown number of Hezbollah fighters were wounded in the fighting.
Hezbollah also fired more rockets into Israel Thursday.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says his country will use all means to push Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon. Israel says residents south of the Litani River, about 30 kilometers inside Lebanon, should leave the area.
The Israeli military says two combat helicopters crashed in northern Israel after colliding in mid-air, injuring at least four people.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora says Israel's military campaign has killed more than 300 Lebanese, mostly civilians. Israel says it has lost 30 people since the fighting erupted, after Hezbollah captured the two Israeli soldiers on July 12th.