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Hezbollah, Israel exchange missiles, rockets

IDF: Israeli military takes control of Hezbollah 'terror capital'
Scores of Israeli evacuees take shelter from Hezbollah rockets Monday in Nitzanim Beach.



BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Hezbollah rockets destroyed homes and lives in northern Israel on Tuesday, and Israeli forces bombarded Lebanese villages as violence between the two groups entered a third week.

The U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon reported an Israeli airstrike hit an observer post in the southern Lebanese city of Khiyam, killing two peacekeepers. Two other observers were missing, the U.N. said.

Reports of the strike came shortly after the Israel Defense Forces said it had killed senior Hezbollah commander Abu Jaafar, who Israel says was in charge of the central area of Lebanon's border with Israel. CNN was not able to confirm the report and there has been no confirmation from Hezbollah.

Also Tuesday a Katyusha rocket killed a 15-year-old girl in the village of Meghar in the Galilee region, Israeli police and medical service officials said.

At least 18 people were injured when more than a dozen Hezbollah rockets landed in three or four places in Haifa, officials said. (Watch 60 rockets and 'angel of luck' -- 3:27)

Israeli troops have pushed into southern Lebanon in a bid to reduce Hezbollah's capability to fire on northern Israel.

Tuesday evening, the Israeli military took over Bint Jbeil, north of Maroun al-Ras in southern Lebanon, after heavy fighting, according to IDF Gen. Gal Hirsch.

The IDF has dubbed the area Hezbollah's "terror capital" and Bint Jbeil a Hezbollah rocket-launching site. (Full story)

On Tuesday, the IDF reported it had killed up to 30 Hezbollah fighters in the area in the previous 24 hours.

Several civilians "are still stranded" and "caught in the crossfire" there, according to UNIFIL.

Seven people were killed overnight in the same region in an Israeli airstrike on a house in Nabatiye village, Lebanese security sources said Tuesday morning. The IDF did not respond directly to the report.

Tuesday afternoon, a series of explosions hit Beirut's southern suburbs, sending gray smoke wafting through the city's high-rise buildings. Flashes of fire accompanied the blasts, which reverberated throughout the city. (Watch powerful explosions rock Beirut -- 2:53)

The capital's southern suburbs are a Hezbollah stronghold, according to the IDF, and have been a frequent target of Israeli airstrikes during the past two weeks.

At least 392 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Lebanon, and as many as 1,383 have been wounded during the crisis, Lebanese security officials said Tuesday.

In Israel, at least 41 people have died -- 19 civilians and 22 soldiers -- and at least 388 people, mostly civilians, have been wounded, according to the IDF. (Watch kidnappings spark month of war -- 3:44)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem, vowed to continue the offensive against Hezbollah, despite pleas by Lebanese government officials for an immediate cease-fire. (Full story)

As Rice and Olmert met, Israeli and Hezbollah forces traded rocket and missile fire, with the action focused on the Lebanese coastal city of Tyre.

Hezbollah rockets were launched from the area. Soon after, Israeli artillery and airstrikes hit south of the city. (Watch Israel hits port city of Tyre -- 2:11)

The IDF later reported that the Katyusha launch site -- which it said was used to launch the rockets that struck Haifa -- was destroyed by the Israeli air force.

The fighting began July 12 after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers during a cross-border raid into Israel. Since then, Israeli artillery and warplanes have been pounding Lebanon, and Hezbollah has responded by firing rockets into Israel.

The conflict has devastated Lebanon's infrastructure, including roads, bridges and airports.


In Gaza, where Israel is conducting another offensive, the Israeli army shot and killed a 12-year-old boy near Khan Yunis, Palestinian medical sources said. The IDF denied that its troops shot the boy.

The IDF said forces there carried out aerial attacks overnight on buildings in Gaza City and Rafa that were used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas to store weapons and explosives.

The fighting there intensified after Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit was captured June 25 by Palestinian militants.

CNN's Sanjay Gupta, John Vause, Karl Penhaul, John King, Nic Robertson, Christiane Amanpour, John Roberts, Fionnuala Sweeney, Anthony Mills, Schams Elwazer, Paul Courson and Dana Bash contributed to this report.

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