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Fighting Rages On: Israel Suffers Heavy Losses

Israel Suffers Bloodiest Day of Fight With Hezbollah

By Craig S. Smith
The New York Times
Wednesday 26 July 2006

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Avivim, Israel - Israel suffered its worst casualties in southern Lebanon today since the current conflict with Hezbollah started, as thousands of Israeli troops there fought house to house, and village to village, in an attempt to create a buffer zone that Israel hoped would be filled by a multinational peacekeeping force.

At least eight Israeli soldiers were killed and many were wounded in the ground battles, according to unofficial reports from military officers, who were not yet authorized to speak publicly about casualties and had not yet received a full account of the day's toll.

The Israeli military has not yet officially confirmed the figures, but some news service reports indicated that the death toll could be as high as 14.

Israeli officers on the border said there were thousands of soldiers in the south of the country engaged in very heavy fighting. Soldiers involved in the battle say that Hezbollah is dug in deeply, and its fighters have shown a willingness to die. Most of the Israeli casualties have come from ambushes, trapping tanks under intense fire and making rescue operations difficult, they said.

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