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Tue, Jul 18, 2006

Israel Denies Hezbollah Claims Of Fighter Shootdown

Fighting Continues For Sixth Straight Day

Contrary to how it may look on video, Israel says that wasn't one of their F-16 fighters that Lebanese television stations showed falling from the sky in flames Monday.

In fact, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz says no Israeli jets or helicopters have been shot down over Lebanon, period...  but he did not rule out that it may have been an unmanned drone.

Lebanese security sources told Reuters it may only have been a jettisonable fuel tank ditched by a fighter... while an Israeli military spokesman said the object appeared to be a misfired Hezbollah rocket.

Monday was the sixth day of the fiery exchange between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas holed up in Lebanon, after eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two taken hostage after a cross-border exchange last Wednesday. Israeli F-16s pounded targets in Lebanon on Monday... killing 48 people.

Reuters reports the warplanes struck at both Hezbollah targets and at key infrastructure sites like bridges and ports... hoping to isolate the Muslim fighters from reinforcements in Syria and Iran.

But for all of that, Hezbollah continued to rain missiles on northern Israel... striking as deep as the port city of Haifa.

The United States, France and other countries are now gearing up to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon. That's a task made much more difficult by the Israeli bomb and missile attack on the civilian airport in Beirut, which have rendered the airport unusable.

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org

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