The Israeli air strikes that targeted several areas in the southern suburbs of Beirut and across southern Lebanon have killed fifty-three civilians. Also, the army air-struck Beirut airport two times on Thursday, setting fuel tanks ablaze. The airport is Lebanon’s only international air facility.
Lebanese official sources reported that the airport will remain shut at least 48 hours.
Mohammad Safadi, the Lebanese Transportation Minister, said that the airport will be partially opened after 48 hours, but the reopening time will be decided by the Lebanese cabinet since it needs a political decision.
Israel first struck the capital’s airport early in the morning and began enforcing a naval blockade, expanding reprisals since Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers a day earlier, the Qatar based Al Jazeera news channel reported.
Lebanese security sources reported that at least 100 residents were injured, ten members of the same family were killed in Dweir village, and seven family members were killed in Baflay town.
Also, the Israeli shelled runways at the main army air base in eastern Lebanon near the borders with Syria.
The Lebanese police reported that troops fired two bombs at the runway of Rayak airbase in the eastern Biqaa valley. The runway was completely damaged, no injuries were reported in the attack.
The Israeli attacks in Lebanon triggered retaliation from Hezbollah fighters who fired rockets at northern Israel.
Israel media sources reported that at least 70 rockets had slammed into towns and villages in northern Israel. Most of the shells were fired at the coastal city of Nahariya, 10 km south of the Lebanese border with Israel.
Furthermore, two Israelis were killed and several others were injured when a Katyusha rocket hit an apartment in Nahariya. Medics said 27 people, including children, had been wounded in the city.
In Safad, one man was killed and 22 Israelis were injured after seven rockets were fired by Hezbollah fighters.
Safad is some 15 km inside the Israeli border with Lebanon and among the furthest struck.
Hezbollah fighters said they fired 60 rockets at Nahariya. Hezbollah fighters added that they would bombard Israel’s third-largest city of Haifa if it targets Beirut; Haifa is 35 km south of the borders with Lebanon.