By Greg Myre and Steven Eranger
The New York Times
Thursday 13 July 2006
Jerusalem - Israel struck targets in Beirut and south Lebanon today in retaliation for a cross-border assault by the guerilla group Hezbollah, prompting President Bush to express concern that the Israeli actions might "topple" the Lebanese government.
Hezbollah had surprised Israel with a bold daylight assault on Wednesday, leading Israel to respond by sending armored forces into southern Lebanon for the first time in six years.
Early on Thursday morning, Israeli warplanes fired missiles at the runways at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, shutting the airport and potentially stranding thousands of visitors at the peak of the tourism season. The Israeli military confirmed the strike, saying that the airport was a target because Hezbollah receives weapons shipments there. Israel also announced that its navy would blockade Lebanon's ports to cut off such shipments.
An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Daniel Taub, said in a televised interview that actions against Lebanon would continue until its government meets "its responsibility" by ending the attacks by Hezbollah.
Israeli warplanes also struck numerous locations in southern Lebanon, adding to the death toll. Hezbollah in return fired several Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, injuring three people.
Israel, which is already waging a military operation in the Gaza Strip to free a soldier captured by Palestinian militants, said that two of its soldiers were captured and at least eight killed in the fighting with Hezbollah.