World

Mideast fighting escalates amid efforts to secure ceasefire

Hezbollah and Israel continue fighting as the UN Security Council considers a draft resolution to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict.

In the deadliest attack on Israel since fighting with Hezbollah militants began nearly a month ago, 15 Israelis were killed and dozens more woundedwhen a barrage ofabout 80 missiles hit towns across northern Israel on Sunday.

A rocket struck the northern town of Kfar Giladi where Israeli army reservists had gathered. Twelve people died in the attack and five others were wounded. At least two rockets directly hit homes, ambulance workers reported.

Hezbollah also sent rockets into the residential areas of Haifa, Israel's third-largest city. Three people were killed and more than 40 others were wounded in the attack.

On the other side of the border, an Israeli air strike on Monday morning killed six civilians and wounded two, all members of the same family in the village of Ghazzaniyeh.

That strike followed a deadly day whenat least 13 peoplewere killed by air strikes and Israeli artillery in a number of towns and villages in southern Lebanon.Lebanese security officials said the Sundaybombing raid continued for half an hour.

Israeli soldiers also moved into the Lebanese town of Qana. Army officials said they destroyed Hezbollah launchers that had directed rockets into Haifa. Israel earlier attacked Qana on Aug. 3 with a series of air strikes, killing 28 civilians. Officials later acknowledged the attack was a mistake but maintained that the town was a Hezbollah stronghold.

Three Chinese UN peacekeepers were injured by a Hezbollah rocket that landed near their post in southern Lebanon,the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday. The reportdid not specify where the attack occurred.

Hezbollah-backed politicians reject UN resolution

The fighting has intensified despite the latest efforts to secure a ceasefire.TheUnited Nations Security Council was to continue discussions Sunday over a draft resolution calling for a halt in the violence.

Israeli politicians have cautiously welcomed the proposals, including one recommendingthe deployment of a multinational force in southern Lebanon and another givingIsrael the right to launch strikes against Hezbollah if rocket attacks continued.

However,Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, a prominent Shiawho has been negotiating on behalf of Hezbollah, rejected the U.S.-French draftresolution on Sunday because it did not include the government’s plan for ending the fighting

The Hezbollah-backed leaders elected to the Lebanese parliament have demandeda complete withdrawal of Israeli troops, while Israel says it willkeep its troops inLebanon until a peacekeepingforce is deployed.

The wording of the draft wasagreed on by the United States and France on Saturdayafter weeks of negotiation. Observerssay a vote at the UN could come on Monday or Tuesday.

Israel capturesHezbollah fighter

The fighting began July 12 when Hezbollah guerrillas crossed the border and attacked an Israeli army patrol, killing eight soldiers and capturing two others.

The Israeli army announced on Sunday that it has arrested a Hezbollah guerrilla, andunder interrogation it became apparent that he was involved in the cross-border raid.