Police stands in guard at the site of a rocket attack by Hezbollah guerrillas at the train station in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Sunday July 16, 2006. Lebanese guerrillas fired a relentless barrage of rockets into Haifa on Sunday, killing eight people at a train station and wounding seven others, police said. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that there would be 'far-reaching consequences' for the attack. In the background the hole left on the roof by the incoming rocket. Image Credit: AP Photo/Oded Balilty
This is a developing linked post; click here for more stories - July 16, 2006
Note: The best current resource for updates from Lebanese and Israeli bloggers covering the conflict can be found @ Truth Laid Bear. An excellent map of the war theatre can be found there.
Excerpts from AP via Yahoo! News -
Hezbollah rockets hit Haifa, killing 8
By JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press Writer
HAIFA, Israel - Lebanese guerillas fired a relentless barrage of rockets into the northern Israeli city of Haifa on Sunday, killing eight people at a train station and wounding seven others in a dramatic escalation of a five-day-old conflict that has shattered Mideast peace.
Soon after the Haifa attack, Israeli airstrikes reduced entire apartment buildings to rubble and knocked out electricity in swaths of the Lebanese capital Sunday.
Israel had already bombarded southern Beirut, a teeming Shiite districts where Hezbollah has its headquarters, prior to the Haifa bombing. A series of 18 explosions rocked Beirut before sunrise.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that there would be "far-reaching consequences" for the rocket attack — the worst since Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon in 2000 after an 18-year occupation. Smoke rose over Haifa and air raid sirens wailed as the dead and wounded were evacuated. Other rockets hit the city's major oil refinery, gas storage tanks and a major street during the busy morning rush hour.
Israeli officials blamed Syria and Iran for providing the weaponry that hit Haifa — raising the specter of a wider regional confrontation.
The airstrikes in Beirut reduced an entire apartment building to rubble and knocked out electricity in swaths of the capital. Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station briefly went off the air
The Israeli air force dropped leaflets over south Lebanon telling residents to leave immediately before an imminent attack.
"In two or three hours we are going to attack the south of Lebanon heavily," said Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, the head of Israel's northern command,
It was the sharpest escalation since fighting began last Wednesday after Hezbollah guerillas penetrated Israel in brazen raid, killing eight soldiers and capturing another two. The fighting opened a second front for Israel, which had already been fighting Hamas-linked militants in the
Gaza Strip following the capture of another Israeli soldier on June 25.
Hezbollah said it fired dozens of rockets at Haifa at 9 a.m.
"After the enemy continued all night their destructive shelling of (Beirut's) southern suburb and other areas ... the resistance movement fired dozens of rockets on Haifa," the Hezbollah statement said.
Rockets fired by Lebanese militants also hit Acco, Nahariya and several other northern towns, and residents of the region were told to head to bomb shelters. Israeli rescue teams said 20 people were injured in Haifa and Acco, four of them seriously.
"The attacks were meant to harm citizens, and this is an evil war of Hezbollah against the state of Israel and its residents," Olmert said.
Adam, the head of Israel's Northern Command, said Iranian troops were helping Hezbollah fire Iranian-made missiles at Israel. Hamid Reza Asefi, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, denied claims that his country had troops in Lebanon or had given missiles to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah guerillas hit Haifa with a rocket for the first time ever Thursday. Israel responded by stepping up its airstrikes in Lebanon.
Olmert said that Israel's offensive did not intend to harm Lebanese civilians.
"We want to live our lives in peace and in good neighborly relations," he said. "Unfortunately, there are those who misinterpret our wishes for peace in the wrong way. We have to no intention of bending in the face of these threats."
"Our enemies are trying to disrupt the lifestyle in Israel. They will fail," he said.