Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak summoned his security cabinet late Saturday to discuss the escalation in violence in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon, as aides told AFP he was inclined to cancel a US trip due to begin Monday. In the meanwhile, Israeli navy and air force raided Lebanon late Saturday.
Israeli gunboats and helicopters launched a concerted attack on coastal villages in southern Lebanon late Saturday, as they tried to hunt down fighters who hand led attacks on the occupied southern zone, police reported.
Two Israeli gunboats fired around twenty shells in half an hour around the villages of Mansuri, Buyut as-Sayyad and Majdel Zun, around 12 kilometers south of Tyre, the police said, without reporting casualties.
At the same time, the area was hit by artillery fire from the Israeli-occupied zone.
One shell landed close to a UN position at Majdel Zun, manned by the Fijian contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, the police added, again with no details.
They added that the helicopters fired at ten-minute intervals, salvos of two air-to-surface missiles on the valleys near Majdel Zun, causing clouds of white smoke.
The attacks were probably from the pro-Syrian Amal movement which had just attacked positions of the pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army at Hardun and Tayr Harfa, on the edge of the western sector of the occupied zone, they added.
The security services said 15 shells had fallen on these positions, with no casualties.
At least 100 Palestinians were hurt, mostly lightly, when Israeli troops fired on stone-throwing demonstrators in "day of rage" protests Saturday, the latest in more than a week of bloody unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Five Palestinians have also died in the disturbances, and more than a score of Israelis have been hurt.
In Lebanon Israeli warplanes attacked a base of a radical Palestinian group, reportedly killing four people and wounding three, while gunboats and helicopters pounded the area round coastal villages -- (AFP)
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