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Hizbollah rocket attacks on Israel kill 2, wound 70

Written by: Staff

HAIFA, Israel, July 23 (Reuters) Scores of Hizbollah rockets slammed into northern Israeli towns today, killing two people and wounding 70, medics and the army said.

More than a dozen missiles from Hizbollah positions in Lebanon rained on the city of Haifa, killing one man driving his car and another in a warehouse. Rockets also hit apartments, homes and an industrial zone in the city.

Factory worker Keren Hagigi, at the industrial zone, said a siren sounded just before one missile hit.

''The scenes were horrific. There were wounded people on the road and there was a wounded person in the building too. There was terrible destruction,'' Hagigi told Army Radio.

Medics said about 50 people were wounded in at least 10 other towns across northern Israel. An army spokeswoman said about 90 rockets had struck the region by early today evening.

The strikes came as French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells visited Haifa on diplomatic missions to try to end the crisis.

Douste-Blazy had to take cover under a stairway in Haifa when sirens warning of a rocket attack sounded as he was travelling in a convoy of vehicles. His guards decided to get off the road and shelter in a residential building.

Howells was forced to go to a secure room six times, a British embassy spokeswoman in Israel said.

Haj Awwad, whose brother-in-law Habib Awwad, an Israeli Arab, was killed in the warehouse, said Israel had to fight until it killed Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

''Nasrallah is a cancer. I hope they continue until the end to wipe out not only Nasrallah but all of Hizbollah,'' Awwad told the NRG Maariv Web site.

SIRENS SOUND Air raid sirens also sounded in the town of Zichron Yaakov, which lies 60 km (40 miles) south of the Lebanese border.

The army said it believed no rockets had hit Zichron Yaakov -- which would be the furthest the missiles had reached since the conflict began on July 12, after Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in a cross-border raid.

Haifa, Israel's third largest city, is a favoured target. It lies 35 km south of the border.

Visiting the scene where the man in the car was killed, the mayors of Haifa and Tel Aviv were forced to take cover behind a vehicle when sirens sounded again.

''I'm urging citizens of Haifa to stay in secure areas because these things can kill, as we saw today,'' Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said.

Hizbollah rocket attacks have killed 17 Israeli civilians.

Twenty soldiers also have been killed.

Israel's 12-day-old onslaught on Lebanon to cripple Hizbollah has claimed 365 lives, mostly civilians.

More than 1,100 Hizbollah rockets have hit northern Israel.

They have struck as far as Afula, 50 km south of the frontier.


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