Eight Israeli civilians died in a hail of rockets launched from south Lebanon on Thursday, with four Israeli soldiers also killed fighting Hezbollah, making it the conflict's bloodiest day for Israel.
Three people were killed by rockets that slammed into the northern village of Maalot, close to the Lebanese border, which was hit by more than 40 rockets, medics and police said, on the 23rd day of fighting.
Local media reported that the victims were Israeli Arabs.
Another four people were killed by a strike in the coastal city of Acre some 25 kilometres south of the Lebanese border, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.
A fifth person wounded in the Acre strike later died.
Four Israeli soldiers were also killed in fighting with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.
"Overall in terms of casualties, this is the hardest day," an army spokeswoman said, asking not to be named.
The Israeli army said 15 Hezbollah fighters were killed in the clashes.
Six Lebanese, including two Hezbollah guerrillas, were taken prisoner, an Israeli commander said.