Israeli warplanes pound southern Beirut | india | Hindustan Times
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Israeli warplanes pound southern Beirut

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 09:12 IST
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Israeli warplanes struck twice in the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut early on Friday hours after Shiite leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah threatened to launch rockets into Tel Aviv if the Lebanese capital is hit.

Two huge explosions were heard in southern Lebanon at 1625 hrs IST but there were no reports of any casualties in the Israeli airstrikes.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had dropped leaflets on Thursday night warning residents in the area to leave.

The area has been repeatedly pounded by Israeli air strikes since the recent flare up following abduction of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah on July 12.

Nasrallah warned on Thursday that if the IDF attacks Beirut, he would retaliate with attacks in Tel Aviv.

"If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity... We will bomb Tel Aviv," he said.

However, hours after a barrage of missile attacks by Hezbollah on northern Israel that killed eight persons, the Shiite leader offered cessation of hostilities if the Jewish state stops airstrikes against Lebanon.

"Anytime you decide to stop your campaign ... We will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city," Narallah offered in a taped television speech.

Channel One television quoted a senior Israeli defence official as saying that Israel would destroy Lebanon's infrastructure if Hezbollah fires rockets at Tel Aviv.