An Israeli airstike has struck a convoy of civilians and Lebanese security forces fleeing attacks in southern Lebanon, killing or wounding at least 15 people.
Sources say UN peacekeeping vehicles had led the convoy Saturday as it evacuated refugees from around the Lebanese town of Marjayoun. It is not clear if the U.N. vehicles were still with the convoy when it was struck by at least nine rockets fired by Israeli drones.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has authorized an expanded ground offensive in southern Lebanon to deal with positions used by Hezbollah to fire rockets into Israel. Officials said Friday the increased ground operation could begin within hours.
Earlier Friday, Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes against suspected Hezbollah
targets across Lebanon, pounding a Shi'ite suburb of Beirut and an area near the Syrian border. Lebanese officials say the air attacks killed at least 14 people.
Also, Hezbollah fired more rockets at northern Israel, wounding at least seven people.
At least 900 Lebanese - most of them civilians - have been killed since the fighting began one month ago. About 120 Israelis - most of them soldiers - also have died.