Israeli Jets Continue Airstrikes on Lebanon in Fourth Day of Fighting

Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on Lebanon early Saturday, targeting bridges and fuel storage tanks and gas stations in the east and south, security officials said.

Hezbollah's Al Manar television station said at least three people were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Hermel, in the eastern Bekaa Valley. But security officials said six members of a family were injured when a rocket hit their house in Hermel.

Israeli fighter jets destroyed two bridges in eastern Lebanon, Lebanese officials said, declining to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

The jets pounded a mountainous area near the border with Syria where radio and satellite TV antennas are located, they said.

Another strike targeted three bridges south of Beirut early Saturday, officials said.

Israeli jets also destroyed another bridge in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, the officials said.

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Jets also hit six gas stations and fuel tanks were also set ablaze in attacks along the coastal highway linking Beirut to the south of the country.

The Arab Al-Jazeera satellite TV channel also reported that Hezbollah's guerrillas had fired dozens of rockets at the Israeli town of Nahariya by the early hours of the morning.

In southern Lebanon, Israeli troops warned residents of the Lebanese border village of Marwaheen to evacuate in two hours or else the village would be destroyed, security officials said. No reason was given for the Israeli ultimatum.

About 150 Lebanese Sunni Muslim Bedouins left the village Saturday morning and assembled around a U.N. peacekeeping post seeking shelter, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to give statements to the media.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli army spokesman said Saturday that it attacked 44 Hezbollah targets in the past 24 hours, including the group's headquarters, al Manar broadcasting offices and several bridges in Lebanon, one on a Beirut-Damascus road.

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The renewed violence came as the Israeli navy searched for four sailors who went missing on Friday after Hezbollah struck a warship off the Lebanese coast.

Israeli military officials said the ship had been struck by unmanned Hezbollah aircraft rigged with explosives.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV reported that guerrillas had targeted the Israeli warship after it fired missiles into south Beirut.

"Now in the middle of the sea, facing Beirut, the Israeli warship that has attacked the infrastructure, people's homes and civilians — look at it burning," Hezbollah's leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said late Friday.

Immediately after Nasrallah's prerecorded audiotape was aired, Arab television showed nighttime footage of what they said was the Israeli warship burning. But the footage was unclear.

Al-Manar TV showed footage of dozens of Lebanese people dancing in the streets to celebrate the announcement of damages inflicted to an Israeli ship.

The audiotape was released shortly after Israeli missiles struck Hezbollah headquarters and Nasrallah's house in south Beirut.

Hezbollah has managed to fly unmanned spy drones over northern Israel at least twice in recent years.

During the same attack on Friday night, a civilian merchant ship was hit by a Hezbollah rocket, the Israeli army said. It gave no details on the nationality of the vessel or whether there were any casualties.

Israel launched its offensive after Hezbollah guerrillas crossed the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday and captured two Israeli soldiers. Israel has bombarded Lebanon's airport and main roads in the most intensive offensive against the country in 24 years, while Hezbollah has launched hundreds of rockets into Israel.

At least 73 Lebanese have died, most of them civilians in the four-day Israeli offensive. Eight Israeli soldiers and four civilians have been killed in the fighting, and the loss of the sailors threatened to drive the death toll higher.