Israel strikes Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon
Five huge explosions had shaken Beirut by 6 am IST, while other Israeli raids struck the southern town of Sidon.india Updated: Jul 23, 2006 08:35 IST
A series of large explosions reverberated through Beirut in the early hours on Sunday as Israeli warplanes again pounded Hezbollah's stronghold in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital.
Five huge explosions had shaken Beirut by 6 am IST, while other Israeli raids struck the southern town of Sidon.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in Beirut.
The strikes in Sidon destroyed a religious building run by a Shiite Muslim cleric close to Hezbollah in their first hit inside the southern port city.
The Israeli military said the destroyed building had been used by Hezbollah.
At least four people were wounded in the air strike, which targeted Sidon for the first time since Israel launched its massive military offensive against Lebanon and Hezbollah guerrillas July 12, hospital officials said.
Witnesses said the Israeli jets fired two missiles that directly hit the four-story Sayyeda al-Zahraa compound in Sidon. The compound, which contains a mosque, a religious library and a seminary, was entirely destroyed but was believed to be empty at the time of the strike, they said.
Minutes earlier, two other blasts also shook Beirut, caused by an Israeli air strike on the southern suburbs where Hezbollah headquarters - including the residence of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah - have been flattened by repeated Israeli bombing.
Israeli warplanes also hit targets in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley firing missiles in the cities of Hermel and Baalbek at around 0030 IST, witnesses said.