Something Like a War

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TYRE, Lebanon: Israeli aircraft and artillery continue to batter South Lebanon, as Hizballah fighters respond with more rocket attacks into northern Israel. Almost 100 towns have been hurriedly evacuated since Israeli Operation "Grapes Of Wrath" began last Thursday, driving 400,000 Lebanese refugees out of their homes. The fighting escalated over the weekend as Israeli fire knocked out a Beirut power station, cutting electric service to much of the city and its suburbs. Hizballah struck back with rocket launches into northern Israel at a rate of one every 20 minutes. Earlier, Israeli artillery attacked the village of Nabatiyeh, while air force jets struck at rocket launchers in the Wadi Qaissiyeh valley near the village of Khirbet Silim. The attacks make up the most intense bombardment of Lebanon since 1993, when whole villages were leveled. "The operation will continue for one or two weeks more," says TIME's Lisa Beyer. "A week or two is about as long as the Lebanese government will stand the flood of refugees from Southern Lebanon. The Lebanese and Syrian governments together have enough leverage over the Hizballah leaders to sufficiently constrain them if they want to." Beyer adds "It is a mistake to look at this operation as motivated solely by election politics. It is not clear yet how this operation will develop, and it could be politically risky. Israelis are wary of becoming too involved in any military operation, and this one could be hard to get out of. However, Peres is not just acting tough. He is responding to what his military advisors say is a genuine military problem, one that should have been taken care of weeks ago."