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Israeli Ground Forces Enter Lebanon

An Israeli government spokesman said Israeli ground forces have entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, bringing the conflict to a new level. Until now, the offensive against Lebanon has been strictly from the air.

CBS News' Kristin Gillespie reports a plane was seen falling from the sky on live television, and it appeared to be an F-16, but there was no confirmation to whom the jet belonged. Gillespie reports residents of Beirut were celebrating and sending fireworks into the air.

However, the Israeli Army said reports of Israeli aircraft being shot down over Beirut are false, and that what was spotted was a container of leaflets.

A rocket destroyed a three-story building in Haifa and wounded at least five people, Israeli medics said.

The rocket attacks came a day after a Hezbollah attack on the port city killed eight people.

Although Israelis tell CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan the attacks on Haifa are like attacks on San Francisco would be to Americans, Mayor Yona Yahav tells Logan it's not unexpected. "We are patient, we are strong, and we can take it."

In other developments:

  • An Israeli soldier was killed during a raid in the West Bank town of Nablus when Palestinians detonated a bomb, reports CBS News correspondent Robert Berger. The army says it has information that militants in Nablus are planning suicide bombings in Israel. A suspected bomber was caught today here in Jerusalem.
  • A senior European Union official returned Monday from the Middle East and said he is pessimistic about the chance of a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah militants, but Iran's foreign minister said Monday he believes a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah is feasible.
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel and to persuade the Jewish state to stop attacks on Hezbollah. Separately, the European Union said it was considering the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
  • Israel opposes the deployment of international forces because it believes it will not help the situation in Lebanon, reports Berger. Instead, Israel wants the Lebanese army to take control of South Lebanon and for Hezbollah to be disarmed.
  • President Bush is heading home from the G-8 Summit in Russia frustrated over the relentless Middle East violence and the slow pace of efforts to end it, reports CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer. An open mike caught him using an expletive to complain about Syria and Hezbollah. Mr. Bush also indicated Secretary of State Rice would soon head to the region.
  • There was an antiwar demonstration in Israel Sunday night, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes he has wide public support for getting Hezbollah and its missiles out of southern Lebanon, reports CBS News correspondent Dan Raviv.
  • Israel on Monday bombed the empty Palestinian Foreign Ministry building for the second time in less than a week, calling it a warning to the ruling Hamas and keeping up pressure as it searched for a kidnapped soldier.

    Fighter bombers pummeled Lebanese infrastructure Monday, setting Beirut's port ablaze and hitting a Hezbollah stronghold in attacks that killed at least 17 people.

    "The bombs started earlier than usual this morning, at about 6 a.m.," said Gillespie. "They sound almost like thunder, and then you can see the smoke that drifts up into the air after the bombs hit their targets."

    The militants group retaliated by firing rockets that flew further into Israel than ever before.

    Israeli planes and artillery guns killed 17 people and wounded at least 53 others in the overnight attacks, Lebanese security officials said as the death toll from the conflict rose to more than 200 — 196 in Lebanon, according to the officials, and 24 in Israel.

    The strikes have been concentrated in a very small area about one square mile, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer in Beirut. Outside the capital, specific targets include crucial transportation links like bridges and roads, choking off normal movement.

    Meanwhile, the very first American citizens were air-lifted to safety Sunday night. The 21 Americans went to Cyprus on a Marine helicopter and another small group was expected to travel that way Monday.

    Israel said its planes and artillery struck 60 targets overnight. Its military sought to punish Lebanon for the barrage of 20 rockets on Haifa, the country's third-largest city and one that had not been hit before the current round of fighting began last Wednesday.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed "far-reaching consequences" for the Haifa attack. The eight deaths made it Hezbollah's deadliest strike ever on Israel.

    Israeli officials accused Syria and Iran of providing Lebanese guerrillas with sophisticated weapons, saying the missiles that hit Haifa had greater range and heavier warheads than those Hezbollah had fired before.

    The United States, Israel and Lebanon are not in a good position, Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution said on CBS News' The Early Show.

    "Israel doesn't have the military power to stop this. It's the terrorist and insurgent movement, and it's very hard to stop this sort of thing with artillery and airplanes," O'Hanlon said. "We don't have enough influence over any of the parties, and the Lebanese government can't really reign in Hezbollah because it's not strong enough."

    "The world is not sure how to get out of this and is getting ready for worse. That's why we're talking about evacuation plans of tens of thousands of people," O'Hanlon told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

    In their raids on Beirut Monday, Israeli planes killed two people in the harbor and started a large fire that was later extinguished. A French ship was due to arrive in the port later Monday to evacuate Europeans.

    The Israeli jets also set fire to a gas storage tank in the northern neighborhood of Dawra and another fuel storage tank at Beirut airport, sending plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. The airport has been closed since Thursday, when Israeli jets blasted its runways.

    Israeli missiles also blasted southern Beirut, causing three explosions that shook the city. The targets were not immediately clear, but Hezbollah has a host of offices, clinics, schools, social clubs and the homes of its leaders in the southern suburbs.

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