Israeli air forces raid Beirut suburb: 3 people killed

Israel's widening military offensive brought to 50 the number of Lebanese civilians killed since Wednesday said Lebanese security officials talking on conditions of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. One Hezbollah gunman has also been killed, the guerrilla said, while more than 150 civilians are wounded.

Two Israeli civilians and eight Israeli soldiers have also been killed since Israel launched its offensive, one of its heaviest in Lebanon since invading the country and occupying the capital 24 years ago, the AP reports.

Overall, 61 people have died in the last three days, ending the relative calm in Lebanon that followed Israel's pullout from its occupied zone in south Lebanon in 2000 and the withdrawal of Syrian forces last year.

The overnight raids on Friday appeared to target Hezbollah's leadership, which is based in the densely Shiite Muslim neighborhoods to the south of Beirut that are practically an extension of the Lebanese capital.

The Israeli military spokesman's office confirmed the strikes. The Israeli army said it had attacked 15 targets including: a gas depot south of the port town of Sidon, several spots on the highway linking Beirut to the Syrian capital of Damascus, bridges in Beirut and the Hezbollah's headquarters in the southern suburbs.

Israel expanded the scope of its attacks, sending warplanes Friday morning to strike at relay transmission antennas for local TV stations in the eastern Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border. Anwar Raja, an official of the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said the attack was on communications towers in the vicinity of the guerrillas' base at Qousaya and did not directly hit the base.