WITNESSES SAY A HEZBOLLAH ROCKET HAS HIT THE WEST BANK FOR THE FIRST TIME.
By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer Wed Aug 2, 4:28 PM ET
NAHARIYA, Israel - Hezbollah
rockets struck Israel in record numbers and deeper
than ever Wednesday, pushing the three-week total over the 2,000 mark and killing a Boston-born man fleeing on his bicycle
The barrage, which followed
a two-day lull, came despite the Israeli army chief's claim that the offensive in south Lebanon
had eroded Hezbollah's firepower. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz also threatened to resume air raids against the Lebanese capital.
One missile fell near the
Palestinian town of Jenin, leaving a 6-foot crater in a rural area of the West Bank. It caused no casualties, and Palestinians
said the mistake would not change their support for Hezbollah.
Rockets also landed near
the town of Beit Shean, 45 miles from the border — the
deepest penetration so far. Hezbollah's satellite TV network, Al-Manar, reported the guerrilla group used its longer-range
Khaibar-1 missiles, which Israel says were supplied by Iran.
The Khaibar rocket debuted last week when the town of Afula
The army said more than
230 rockets had hit Israel by Wednesday
night. The highest previous daily total was 157 on Sunday.
Nightfall ushered in the
Jewish holy day of Tisha B'Av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the biblical temples. Only 16 men braved the rocket barrages
to attend services at the small synagogue in the Amidar neighborhood in Nahariya, about one-quarter the size of the usual
gathering. The air raid siren, which had been blaring all day, did not sound once during the service.
The relative quiet of Monday
and Tuesday brought civilians onto the streets and beaches of northern Israel
for the first time in weeks. But it ended hours after helicopter-borne commandos captured what Israel
said were five guerrillas from the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek deep in eastern Lebanon.
The rocket fire killed a
52-year-old Israeli American in Kibbutz Saar, a communal farm near the coastal resort of Nahariya. It brought the Israeli
death toll in the fighting to 55, including 19 civilians. The attacks Wednesday also wounded 58 people.
The American, whose name
was not released, was killed as he rode his bicycle toward his home after a warning siren went off, said Yehuda Shavit, a
local government official. Kibbutz residents said he was originally from the Boston area and
had been living in Israel for 20 years.
His wife and two daughters
had moved to the south earlier in the fighting, Shavit said. More than half the kibbutz residents had fled to safer areas
out of range, he said.
Police sappers were trying
to remove the remains of the rocket from the crater it bored into the ground, and an orange bulldozer was clearing away the
Another American immigrant
was among three Israeli soldiers killed in fighting in Lebanon
this week, the army said Wednesday.
Michael Levine, 21, of Philadelphia, moved to Israel
three years ago and enlisted in the paratroopers, Israeli media reported. Levine cut short a visit to his family four days
ago and returned to his unit.
Rocket blasts ignited brush
fires that sent white smoke spiraling in the air near the village
of Beit Hillel, where Halutz briefed reporters on what he said was the
damage inflicted on Hezbollah's capabilities.
Halutz said the military
killed hundreds of guerrillas and hit their supplies of medium and long-range rockets. Having significantly increased its
ground operation with the Baalbek raid, Halutz said the army also would consider renewing its
air strikes deep in Lebanon.
"We will need to evaluate
the air strikes in the depth of Lebanon, especially in Beirut," Halutz said. "I assume the matter will come up for authorization in the next day