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From the Times of India -

BEIRUT: Israeli airstrikes pounded parts of the Lebanese capital early Monday, killing two people in Beirut's port, hitting a gas tank in a northern neighborhood and shelling the southern suburbs, witnesses and Lebanese media said.

Firefighters put out a large fire that erupted in the port, where two people were killed when missiles hit a parking area for trucks next to the harbor. The fire had not severely damaged the port, a few hours ahead of the expected arrival of a ship sent by France to begin the large-scale evacuation of European citizens.

The strikes came as the Israeli military said a Hezbollah rocket had hit an area south of the port city of Haifa, the southernmost point ever hit by the Lebanese guerrillas in six days of escalating fighting that followed last week's capture by Hezbollah of two Israeli soldiers.

Israeli jets also hit a gas storage tank in the northern Beirut neighbourhood of Dawra. The tank was ablaze in this mixed neighborhood of Christians and Sunni Muslims, witnesses said.

In Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, Lebanese television stations showed columns of smoke rising from the area, heavily bombarded over the weekend.

In Beirut's downtown Hamra area, hundreds of residents, with their suitcases next to them, clamored around buses that were to take them to the Syrian border.

The six-day Israeli offensive has forced hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to be on the move, with residents of southern Lebanon coming to Beirut or to the eastern Bekaa valley and some of the capital's residents moving to homes on the hills to the east.

Israeli air raids killed 15 people and wounded at least 53 throughout Lebanon on Monday. Eight were Lebanese soldiers killed when Israeli warplanes bombed a position near the country's northern border with Syria.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's al-Manar television said the guerrilla group had fired dozens of rockets at towns in northern Israel in the early hours of Monday. The Israeli army said a rocket had hit the town of Acre, and that no one was hurt.


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