WEEKEND WRAP: Israeli-Hizballah battle intensifies

Sunday, July 16, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Israeli and Hizballah fighting intensified as Katyushas rained down on northern Israel over the weekend. Defense Minister Amir Peretz declared martial law throughout the north giving the defense establishment the authority to issue instructions to civilians as well as impose a curfew if necessary. The defense establishment also deployed Patriot missiles at an air base outside of Haifa on Saturday night.

On Friday a woman and her grandson were killed when a Katyusha hit their home in Mt. Meron, near Safed. Dozens of others were seriously wounded in the attack.

On Saturday, Katyushas fell on the Sea of Galilee city of Tiberius for the first time since the fighting erupted.

A Katyusha rocket warning system was activated in southern Haifa on Sunday, Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon said on Saturday night. The alarm is intended to sound one-minute before the rocket hits the ground enabling its 270,000 residents to seek shelter. The Israeli army deemed it necessary to deploy Patriot missiles in the port city to also protect the oil refineries located in this northern coastal town.

The Israeli Home Front Command urged all residents of the north, nearly 1 million people, to stay at home on Sunday and not go to work, camp, or spend time outdoors. With Home Front Command in control, businesses closed due to the extreme situations are to receive compensation for the wages lost.

Home Front Command is in effect 48 hours until the Israeli Cabinet discusses on Sunday the matter and approves further steps.

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