08/04/2006, 00.00
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South Beirut bombed again, Hezbollah threatens rockets against Tel Aviv

However the Shiite leader did say he was open to stop hostilities if Israel was prepared to halt its attacks against Lebanon. But the Jewish state charged him with trying to checkmate it. A UN resolution on a truce and the dispatch of an international force is expected between today and tomorrow.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More attacks rocked southern Beirut this morning. The Israeli Air Force dropped 24 bombs in less than an hour, according to local media. The army of the Jewish state said the raids targeted the offices of Shiite militias in Ouzai neighbourhood, a Hezbollah stronghold where the highway to the south begins. The attacks were the first on Ouzai since fighting between Hezbollah and Israel began on 12 July.

Yesterday, an Israeli jet dropped leaflets in three northern neighbourhoods of the capital to let the population know that bombings would follow; nonetheless, the leader of the Party of God, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, threatened to bomb Tel Aviv if Israeli bombers attacked Beirut again. Israel responded by threatening to destroy all Lebanon's infrastructure. However, for the first time in more than 20 days of fighting, the Shiite leader hinted that he was open to a ceasefire. "Any time you decide to stop your campaign against our cities, villages, civilians and infrastructure, we will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city," Nasrallah said in a television speech.

The response from the Justice Minister Haim Ramon was negative. He said the real aim of Nasrallah was Israel's capitulation so he "can retain the ability to threaten Israel whenever he wants". Only yesterday, Hezbollah guerrillas launched more than 160 rockets at northern Israel, killing eight people and wounding 37.
The aim of the Israelis is to create a circa 7km buffer zone along the border to allow for the deployment of an international force. Agreement about such a force should be reached at the UN headquarters between today and tomorrow, at least, this is what Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesman, hopes. The United States and France are working on a final draft of the resolution that will be presented to the Security Council.

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