Lebanese sources reported on Thursday evening that Israeli soldiers controlled Lebanese army barracks in Marj Oyoun town, in southern Lebanon while Israeli officials said that the offensive could go wider if diplomacy fails after France announced that a peace deal was imminent to end the war.
The Lebanese acting Interior Minister, Ahmad Fatfat, said the Israeli army is holding 350 Lebanese soldiers and the Internal Security Forces at an army barracks in Marj Oyoun.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, said that the army will use “all of the tools” to damage the capacities of Hezbollah fighters if cease-fire proposals fail.
Meanwhile, Israeli leaders have authorized a major new ground offensive going deeper into Lebanon, but said that the widened offensive would wait “to give international negotiations more time”, yet shelling of several Lebanese areas continued on Thursday.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that a deal was imminent on a draft U.N. resolution to end four weeks of fighting in Lebanon, the Lebanese Naharnet news website reported.
He added that an agreement is expected at any moment and that “every hour” counts in this issue.
Earlier on Thursday, Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets over Beirut vowing a “painful and strong” response to the attacks carried by Hezbollah fighters.
The leaflets warned the residents to evacuate their homes in three southern suburbs in Lebanon, and that every truck moving on a key northern highway to Syria will be targeted.
Earlier, missiles from Israeli helicopter gunships blasted the top of a historic lighthouse in central Beirut in an apparent attempt to knock out a broadcast antenna for Lebanese state television, the Naharnet added.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah said that fighters managed to destroy 13 Israeli tanks in southern Lebanon.
Hezbollah gunmen fire at least 110 Katusha rockets into northern Israel by mid-afternoon, including one that hit Haifa, Israeli police source reported.
An Arab Israeli mother and her young daughter were killed in the village of Dir al-Assad.
In the Lebanese side, at least four civilians were killed by Israeli shells.
Earlier on Thursday, U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Anan, called on the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution on the "nightmare" Lebanon war by the end of the week.
Hundreds of families left the three main areas in Beirut’s southern suburbs and headed to the Armenian quarter of Bourj Hammoud further north.
The ongoing offensive against Lebanon is expected to last for a month, Israel said it aims to destroy 70-80% of Hezbollah’s long-range rocket launchers.
Jeffrey Feltman, the United States ambassador, net three times on Thursday with the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Saniora, but no progress was made.
Three Israeli soldiers were killed on Thursday, and another 16 soldiers were wounded, including one who is in a serious condition, Israeli sources reported.