Heavy exchanges of fire in south Lebanon, Hizbullah says leaders are safe
Heavy exchanges of fire were reported Thursday morning between Israeli troops and Hizbullah fighters in south Lebanon. Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in the clashes, one seriously, one moderately and the other lightly, when a rocket hit a tank north of the Israeli border, media reports said.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli warplanes renewed air strikes on Beirut's southern suburbs, Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV reported. Al-Manar's report of the attack on the Bir al-Abed neighborhood followed a relatively quiet night in Beirut after the Wednesday night attack by Israeli jets on what the military believed was a bunker used by senior Hizbullah leaders, including Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Haaretz reported.
Late on Wednesday, the Israeli army said that aircraft dropped 23 tons of explosives on the target in Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood of Beirut between 8 and 9 P.M.. Reporters in Beirut said they heard a huge explosion around 8:30 P.M.
Soon after, Hizbullah issued a statement, saying "no Hizbullah leaders or elements were killed in the strike," but a building under construction to be a mosque was hit. "It seems that the enemy wants to cover up its military and security failures with lies and claims of imaginary achievements," said the statement, cited by The Associated Press.
Interviewed on CNN early Thursday, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, said Israel would not issue a statement about the attack until it is sure of all the facts. But he added, "I can assure you that we know exactly what we hit. ... This was no religious site. This was indeed the headquarters of the Hezbollah leadership."