July 15, 2006

Hizbollah rockets hit Sea of Galilee town

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Rockets fired by Hizbollah guerillas
in Lebanon struck deeper into Israel than ever before on
Saturday, hitting the Sea of Galilee town of Tiberias, and
wounding 15 people across northern Israel.

It was the fourth straight day of rocket barrages since
fighting erupted after two soldiers were captured on a raid
into Israel by Hizbollah militants, who also killed eight
Israeli troops in ensuing clashes.

Four Israelis, including a five-year-old child, have been
killed and 300 hurt by about 700 rockets fired since Wednesday
at an unprecedented number of more than 20 towns. Over 100
Lebanese, mostly civilians, have died in Israeli air raids.

The Hizbollah rocket barrages have sparked widespread panic
that has sent thousands of Israelis fleeing the north and many
others heading for bomb shelters.

Israeli officials said three barrages of Katyusha rockets
slammed into Tiberias, a town about 35 km (22 miles) from the
border with Lebanon, injuring eight people and damaging two
residential buildings.

"We could not believe this would happen to us. It was very
scary. We are frightened and intend to escape with our
children," Ayala Aloni told Israel's Ynet news Web site after
the first rocket hit.

In Karmiel, another Israeli town struck by rockets, the
mayor urged residents to stay with relatives in the south of
the country until the violence subsides. Several people were
injured in an Israeli Arab town across the road from Karmiel on

Defense Minister Amir Peretz issued an order giving
authorities the power to shut schools, factories and public
institutions in the north, in a bid to limit rocket casualties.

The "Special Situation" declaration falls short of a full
state of emergency.

Israeli generals urged the public to remain calm in the
region where about 750,000 Israelis were under rocket threat,
but cautioned it may be weeks until they subside.

"We have to be ready for some more days, perhaps more than
that, perhaps weeks, to face this reality," the Israeli army's
operations chief, General Gadi Eizenkot, told reporters in Tel
Aviv. "We have to prepare for a continued campaign, not to

The army said people living north of Haifa and Tiberias
should stay inside buildings below the fourth floor. Radio
announcements urged Israelis to avoid travel to northern
Israel, and public events have been canceled.

The Israeli army believes Hizbollah has 10,000 to 12,000
rockets in its arsenal with ranges of 30 to 70 km (18 to 45
miles), suggesting they could reach beyond Haifa or Tiberias.