Israel hit a minibus

An Israeli airstrike hit a minibus Saturday carrying 20 civilians, killing at least 15 of them, Lebanese internal security sources said.

Israel hit a minibus

The strike came as Israel extended its military campaign in Lebanon, launched after the capture of two soldiers by Hezbollah  on Wednesday, and amid fears the conflict will spread in the Middle East.

Hezbollah  kept up their attacks from southern Lebanon on Saturday, firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel.

Including the deaths on the minibus hit on the coastal road between Shamaa and Bayada, at least 80 Lebanese civilians and two Lebanese Army soldiers have been killed and 209 have been wounded since Wednesday, according to the security forces.

Four Israeli civilians and nine Israeli military personnel have been killed, and 100 others have been wounded in the same period, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Israeli ambulances are also rushing to the northern Israeli city of Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, after Hezbollah rockets landed in the area, officials said Saturday.

Overnight, Hezbollah shelled northern Israel with about 10 to 15 Katyusha rockets, most of them landing in the border town of Nahariya, according to the IDF.

Israeli aircraft targeted northern Lebanon on Saturday for the first time since it began its military campaign in Lebanon.

The attack struck bridges in the town of Hermel near the Syrian border, according to Lebanon internal security forces.

It was one of four airstrikes that targeted roads and bridges across Lebanon, part of what Israel says is a campaign to cut off land and sea routes used by Hezbollah.

Other airstrikes were launched near the northwestern coastal town of Tripoli, southeast of Beirut, and a coastal road leading to the southern port city of Tyre, the security sources said.

'You wanted open war'

After more than 12 hours, the Israeli military Saturday located the body of one of the four sailors missing after a Hezbollah missile attack on an Israeli warship, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed to CNN.

The sailor was identified as Staff Sgt. Tal Amgar, 21.

The IDF emphasized the ship was not hit by a drone packed with explosives, as reported by Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.

That would have been seen as a major advance in the weaponry used by Hezbollah .

The missile was launched off the Lebanese coast around 7:30 p.m. Friday (12:30 p.m. ET) when the ship was returning to Israel, an IDF spokeswoman said.

Hezbollah-run Al Manar television, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed responsibility for the attack on the warship. He also declared "open war" with Israel.

"You wanted an open war," Nasrallah said on Friday. "Let it be, then, an open war. Your government wanted to change the rules of the game, so let the rules of the game change, then. ...

"You have chosen an all-out war with a nation that takes pride in its history, civilization and culture, who also has the capability, the experience, the intellect, the wealth, the patience and the courage. The coming days will prove that to you." It was not clear if the speech was taped or live.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. The group holds 23 of the 128 seats in Lebanon's parliament.

Analysts say the threat of a widened conflict is a real one, given the harsh rhetoric and longstanding strife in the region.

The ongoing violence in the Middle East will be at the top of the agenda for the Group of Eight summit of the world's leading industrialized nations, which began Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

It will also be at the center of a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16