Israel to discuss expanding operation in Lebanon

Israel's top ministers will discuss expanding the army's ground operation at a meeting later Monday, while thousands of reserve soldiers train for the possibility that they will be sent into Lebanon to participate in the 20-day-old battle, senior defense officials said.

"Israel will expand and strengthen its activities against the Hezbollah," Defense Minister Amir Peretz told Israel's parliament, while Arab lawmakers repeatedly interrupted him with calls for an immediate cease-fire.

It is unclear whether the senior ministers will approve a broader ground assault at their meeting Monday, the defense officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Israel was pressured to call a 48-hour halt in its air strikes after nearly 60 civilians were killed in a raid in the Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday. However, the army has made clear that the cessation does not include a halt in artillery fire or limited ground operations, the AP reports.

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