At least nineteen Israeli soldiers were killed in Lebanon Saturday, and over one hundred wounded.  A military helicopter was shot down by Hezbollah fighters – the five soldiers inside the helicopter are also presumed dead; and sixteen tanks were damaged.  The Israeli helicopter was shot down by a new type of missile on Saturday night in the Lebanese town of Yater 6 km (4 miles) north of the border, Hezbollah spokesmen reported.  The Israeli army confirmed that a helicopter had been downed, and that nineteen soldiers were killed in the fighting in southern Lebanon on Saturday.

The latest battles began early Saturday morning, when Hezbollah fighters confronted Israeli Forces moving towards the village of Ghanduriyah 11 kilometers inside Lebanon. In that battle, Hezbollah destroyed three tanks and a military bulldozer when Israeli troops tried to enter the town of Beit Yahun and the village of Saf Al Hawa. Several Israeli soldiers were injured.

Hezbollah spokesmen said that its fighters set up ambushes for Israeli forces at the Ghanduriyah village, east of Sur, adding that a number of Israeli soldiers were killed and injured there.

Israeli army officials said on Saturday that a number of soldiers were injured in the fighting that took place in various parts of southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah announced in a statement that it had launched 20 rockets at strategic points in Israeli cities in northern Israeli on Saturday. There were no injuries reported.

During this time, Israeli air strikes on Lebanese areas continued with further civilian casualties.

Lebanese medical sources said that an Israeli air strike on a truck killed at least four civilians in the Al Kharayeb village in southern Lebanon. Lebanese security sources said earlier that an Israeli air strike killed about 15 civilians in the village of Rshaf in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli Air Force attacked homes in the southern Lebanese region of Sur. The Israeli forces used intermitten artillery fire on the towns of An Naqoura and Ras Al Bayyadah and cut the road linking Sidon with Tyre into two pieces. Repeated Israeli air strikes on Friday caused several holes on the Bourj Rahhal road.

This expanded Israeli attack follows a United Nations Security Council resolution passed Friday night calling for an end to the war that began one month ago.

A spokesman for the Israeli government, Avi Paznir, announced that "the wide land operation that the Israeli army launched on Saturday morning is not time-bound."

Paznir continued, "This military operation that aims to paralyze the ability of Hezbollah to launch missiles and rockets into northern Israel is not time-bound."

Hezbollah said in a statement on Saturday that the Israelis have launched a wide-scale ground invasion in At Taybah, Qantarah and ‘Adashit-Al Qusayr areas in southern Lebanon in their attempt to move towards the Al Hujair valley. The statement said that resistance fighters are using different kinds of weapons in the fierce fighting.

The statement said that the resistance group attacked several tanks consecutively near Al Qantara, causing a number of deaths and injuries among the Israeli invaders. The fighting continued until 1:00 with 16 Israeli tanks attacked and many Israeli casualties.  At least one tank was completely destroyed in the battle.

In another statement, Hezbollah announced that its fighters are preventing Israeli military tanks from advancing closer to the Al Hujair valley. 

According to Israeli army officials, of the eleven soldiers killed Saturday, two were killed by other Israeli soldiers.  "Two soldiers from the elite Golani Brigade were killed in an accident that occured when an Israeli tank accidentally ran them over in the village of Shakif-al-Amal in the East.  Two other soldiers were wounded in the accident, one seriously and the other lightly", said the officials.

Despite overwhelming military superiority, Israeli forces have thus far proved unable to prevent the Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah, from firing rockets at Israel, and have failed to dislodge Hezbollah guerrillas from areas close to the Israeli border in their month-long invasion of Lebanon.

*this article was sourced from local sources and the Ma’an News Agency