BEIRUT, Lebanon -
Israel massed tanks and troops on the border, called up reserves and warned civilians to flee Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon as it prepared Friday for a likely ground invasion to set up a deep buffer zone.
The army's chief of staff said forces would conduct ground operations as needed in Lebanon, but they would be "limited." Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz also said nearly 100 Hezbollah guerrillas have been killed in the offensive in Lebanon.
"We will fight terror wherever it is because if we do not fight it, it will fight us. If we don't reach it, it will reach us," Halutz said in a nationally televised news conference. "We will also conduct limited ground operations as much as needed in order to harm the terror that harms us."
An Israeli envoy said the nation will allow aid supplies into Lebanon, a day after the
United Nations warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
Hezbollah militants fired at least 11 rockets at Israel's port city of Haifa, wounding five people. Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon's main road link to Syria, collapsing part of Lebanon's longest bridge. A U.N.-run observation post near the border was hit, but no one was hurt.
Ships lined up at Beirut's port as a massive evacuation of Americans and other foreigners picked up speed. U.S. officials said more than 8,000 of the roughly 25,000 Americans in Lebanon will be evacuated by the weekend.
After 10 days of the heaviest bombardment of Lebanon in 24 years, Israel appears to have decided that a large-scale incursion is the only way to push Hezbollah back.
As sunset approached, long lines of tanks, troops, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers lined up on a two-lane highway in northern Israel. In one area, the soldiers were close enough to see Lebanese villages and homes.
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This has been escalating for quite some time now, with the endless rocket attacks against the northern towns of Israel. Everything Israel has done has been to free their soldiers and guarantee that the citizens of their country do not have to worry about constant attacks from savages in dirty bed sheets. Hezbollah has provoked this attack upon Lebanon for no other reason but to kill innocent people. Israel has long sued for peace, but it has gone on deaf ears in the Muslim world. While they all not do actively support terrorism they sure as hell do not condemn it or protest it. The Muslims sure do know how to protest, remember when those cartoons where publishes and they went around torching buildings and killing innocent people, and this is suppose to be the religion of peace. They state that many in the Muslim would want peace, well show them to us. I want to see Muslims openly and fully condemn these terrorists, I want to see Muslims protest them in the same fashion they do us.