Ceasefire? Hizbullah steps up shelling of northern Israel

Special to World
Monday, August 4, 2003

TEL AVIV Hizbullah has increased shelling of civilian communities in northern Israel.

Seven people were injured in a barrage of anti-aircraft attacks by Hizbullah gunners on Sunday. Israeli officials said Hizbullah launched four barrages toward Israeli communities along the western part of the Lebanese border.

One of the 357 mm shells landed in a bungalow in northern Israel. Three people were treated for shock.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Cabinet that the United States plans to relay a warning to Syria against helping Hizbullah, including the transfer of weapons to the Shi'ite group. Sharon returned from Washington last week, where he met President George Bush.

Hizbullah has warned that it will fire anti-aircraft shells toward Israeli planes that cross the Lebanese border.

Israeli officials said military aircraft did not enter Lebanese air space on Sunday. They said Hizbullah has revised its policy and now targets Israeli communities in anti-aircraft shelling attacks.

The Beirut-based A-Safir daily said Hizbullah has improved its anti-aircraft artillery. The newspaper said the artillery can now explode close to the ground.

On Saturday, a Hizbullah operative was killed in a car bomb blast in Beirut in the first such attack in nearly a decade. Hizbullah has blamed Israel for the killing of the operative, described as a security official, and pledged to take revenge.

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