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Overnight attacks hit Israel, Lebanon

Blasts shake south Beirut; Hezbollah rockets wound 5 in Israel

Medics evacuate an injured woman after rockets struck her apartment building Monday in Haifa, Israel.



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BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Loud explosions echoed across the southern suburbs of Beirut early Tuesday, indicating another Israeli airstrike a short time after a volley of Hezbollah rockets rained across northern Israel.

The Beirut explosions could be felt more than two miles away and lit up the sky over the south side of the city, where Hezbollah is headquartered. There was no immediate report of injuries from the blasts.

The Lebanese Army confirmed that a military base near Beirut had been attacked.

The latest round of Hezbollah rockets wounded at least five Israelis and shattering the windows of a hospital in Safed, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said Hezbollah rockets fell from as far west as the kibbutz Rosh Hanikra to Kiryat Shmona in the east, striking at least nine towns and villages in between. The five wounded came from the Safed rocket, which the IDF said landed near the hospital but did not strike it.

Israel's prime minister said Monday that Israel will continue fighting in Lebanon until the release of two Israeli soldiers abducted last week.

In a speech to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel's conditions for stopping the fighting include "bringing home the soldiers, complete peace and quiet, removing Hezbollah from the area."

Olmert's comments came after Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz indicated Israel planned to create a buffer zone in southern Lebanon to stop rocket attacks from Hezbollah.

The fighting began last week after Hezbollah guerrillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

Israel responded with an offensive in Lebanon aimed at Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group with a strong presence in the southern part of the country. It also holds seats in the Lebanese government.

In six days of fighting, 170 people have been killed and 415 wounded in Lebanon, Lebanese internal security sources said.

Twenty-four Israelis have died in the conflict, including 12 soldiers, and more than 300 have been wounded, Israeli military sources said.

IDF: Longer-range missiles taken out

An Israeli airstrike in Beirut Monday hit a truck -- believed to belong to Hezbollah -- carrying rockets that could reach Tel Aviv from southern Lebanon, the IDF said.

The missiles had a range of 120 to 160 km (75 to 100 miles), IDF said. Tel Aviv is about 70 miles from the Israel-Lebanon border.

The strike started a fire that ignited a missile loaded on the truck, causing it to launch, the IDF said. The missile exploded in the air and landed on a Beirut beach, the Israeli military said.

Late Monday afternoon, the IDF said it had destroyed "a big number" of Hezbollah outposts in southern Lebanon.

Earlier reports Monday suggesting Israeli ground forces had entered southern Lebanon were denied by an Israeli military source.

Also Monday, a volley of Hezbollah rockets hit the northern Israeli city of Haifa, a day after a deadly strike on a train depot in the city. (Watch Haifa endure a second day of attacks -- 1:13)

A residential building also partially collapsed when a rocket hit it, injuring at least 11 people.

The barrage also hit the towns of Safed and Tiberias, but no casualties were reported, Israeli medical sources said.

In his speech Monday, Olmert said Israelis refuse to live under the threat of rocket fire and missiles.

"There are moments in the life of a people when it has to look at the present reality and say, 'This far and no farther.' And I say to everybody: This far and no farther."

Gaza attacks

Olmert linked Israel's fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon and its ongoing operations against militants in Gaza.

Israel has been attacking Gaza from the air and conducting raids into the Palestinian territory since three militant groups claimed responsibility for abducting an Israeli soldier last month.

Hamas leads the Palestinian government, and its military wing was one of the three groups.

At least two Palestinians were killed in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun on Monday, Palestinian medical sources said amid an Israeli campaign to free the abducted soldier.

Palestinian military sources said at least five homemade rockets were fired into Israel from Beit Hanoun, and three Israeli soldiers were wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade attack on their tank, the Israeli military said.

Olmert said Hamas and Hezbollah are acting as "subcontractors working with the encouragement and financing of regimes that support terrorism ... the axis of evil that stretches from Tehran to Damascus."

The United States and Israel say Hezbollah receives financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and training, from Iran and Syria.

International force proposed

President Bush disclosed Monday that he is sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East.

Bush revealed the move in a conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair that was inadvertently picked up by an open microphone during the Group of Eight summit in Russia. (Full story)

Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday called for an international stabilization force to be sent to the Israeli-Lebanese border to help end the fighting.

The proposed force would be the first step in what Annan and Blair said should be a series of actions that would stop the hostilities.

"The only way we are going to get a cessation of hostilities is the deployment of an international force," Blair said at a news conference in St. Petersburg at the end of the G-8 summit.

Beirut port bombed

Earlier Monday, Israel bombed Beirut's port, an army barracks and the capital's southern suburbs.

Video footage showed black smoke billowing into the air over the port against a backdrop of large shipping containers and the charred remains of a truck. At least two people died in the attack.

In the city of Abdeh, about 50 miles (about 80 kilometers) north of Beirut, three Israeli missiles struck an army barracks, officials said, killing six soldiers and wounding 28.

Israeli strikes Monday in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border killed seven people, authorities said. Forty-three others were wounded, and a girl was missing. (Watch as civilians bear the brunt of the fighting -- 3:25)

The strikes followed Hezbollah rocket attacks Sunday on northern Israeli cities, including one that struck a train depot in Haifa and killed eight Israelis.

The Lebanese government insists it has nothing to do with the Hezbollah attacks and has called for a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, a commercial ship escorted by a U.S. destroyer will begin evacuating Americans on Tuesday, a U.S. official said. (Full story)

CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Paula Hancocks, Elise Labott, Nic Robertson, Barbara Starr and John Vause contributed to this report.

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