Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters were engaged in fierce clashes around a flashpoint border town in south Lebanon, as the air force hit a succession of targets in a new wave of deadly strikes.
Sporadic bombardments were heard around the town of Bint Jbeil, Hezbollah's main military base near the border, where the most powerful army in the Middle East has met with bitter resistance from Shiite militants over the past five days.
Arab satellite television channel Al-Arabiya reported that six Israeli soldiers were wounded yesterday in firefights with Hezbollah at Bint Jbeil but Israel did not confirm the report.
Israeli forces took up position on two hilltops overlooking Bint Jbeil where troops have been battling Hezbollah forces trying to stop their advance and bombarded the nearby village of Aitarun with 150 rockets, police said.
They added that the Israeli army was also moving the positions it set up at the southern entry to Bint Jbeil back towards the frontier village of Marun al-Ras, which it has held for several days. There was no other confirmation of the report.
Hezbollah also fired a missile across the border at the Israeli city of Afula carrying at least 100 kilogrammes of explosives, but Israeli police denied reports that it was an Iranian-made Zelsal and said it was of "unknown nature".
Israel's security cabinet decided on Thursday to step up its military campaign against Hezbollah, a day after an international crisis meeting in Rome failed to secure a ceasefire.