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Lebanon proposes plan to end violence

Two Israeli strikes kill 17 people; Hezbollah fires 140 rockets

People search for survivors after an Israeli strike destroyed a building in Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday.


United Nations

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Israeli strikes shook Beirut at daybreak and nightfall on Monday, while Lebanon proposed changes to a draft U.N. resolution aimed at halting the Israel-Hezbollah conflict that left some 800 people dead.

Lebanon's government agreed to dispatch 15,000 troops to its southern border as part of a peace agreement if Israeli troops leave the country, a government spokesman said late Monday.

Lebanon's proposed changes would have Israeli troops hand over their current positions to the U.N. Interim Force In Lebanon as they withdraw. UNIFIL would then give control to Lebanese forces.

As the Lebanese Cabinet convened, an Israeli strike hit a south Beirut street on the edge of the city's mostly Christian eastern district, killing 10 people and wounding 65, security sources said. (Watch rescuers dig through rubble for survivors after a Beirut strike -- 1:07)

The strike hit a building near a mosque in the upscale southern suburb of Shiyah, officials with the security forces said.

It was not clear whether the blast was the result of an Israeli airstrike or shelling from warships off the Lebanese coast. The Israel Defense Forces has not said what it was targeting.

Video of the scene, aired on Lebanese TV, showed rescuers digging for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed building.

The strike came shortly after Israel warned residents south of Lebanon's Litani River to stay off roads after 10 p.m., Israeli military sources said. The IDF warned residents it "intends to intensify its attack against Hezbollah."

Earlier Monday, an Israeli airstrike killed at least seven civilians near the southern city of Sidon, Lebanese officials said.

The IDF in recent days had dropped leaflets on Sidon, urging civilians to evacuate.

Israeli warplanes also struck the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, shortly before dawn.

Israel is attempting to establish a buffer zone between Israel and the Litani -- about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the border -- to halt the Hezbollah cross-border rocket attacks.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Monday that one person was killed in an Israeli airstrike on the southern village of Houla, not 40 as he had earlier reported.

Lebanese media reported 65 survivors were pulled from the rubble, more than half of them children.

The airstrikes, which pummeled Houla's Hamamir neighborhood near the main mosque, destroyed at least six homes and caused fires to engulf the area, a law enforcement source said.

The IDF said it has warned residents for the past two weeks to leave.

CNN crews in the southern Lebanese port of Tyre reported hearing "a series of heavy explosions" south of the city early Monday.

The area has been a launching point for Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets, about 140 of which were fired into Israel on Monday, the Israeli military reported.

Israeli commandos Monday raided an apartment complex in Tyre that they had attacked two days earlier, The Associated Press reported. Five people were feared dead in Monday's attack.

Israeli commandos also landed on a hilltop south of Tyre, Lebanese security officials told AP. About 30 commandos fought Hezbollah in close combat in a bid to destroy rocket launchers, the officials said.

The AP reported that Israeli attacks killed 49 people Monday, noting that such tallies have been difficult to confirm.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed by an antitank missile in fighting near the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil, while a third died battling Hezbollah in the same area, the Israel Defense Forces reported.

And the IDF said its troops suffered more casualties near the town of Debel late Monday, but no details were released.

Israel also said it had shot down a Hezbollah drone on Monday.

Monday was the 27th day of fighting. So far the conflict has resulted in 98 Israeli deaths, including 35 civilians, the IDF said; in Lebanon, security forces put the death toll at more than 715, most of them civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a taped address to an American Jewish charity, said Israel was prepared to pay "a terrible price" to battle Hezbollah now rather than face a strengthened foe later.

Olmert called on the "solidarity and partnership" between Jewish communities overseas and the people of Israel for support.

Disagreement on U.N. approach

Siniora's Cabinet, which includes two ministers from Hezbollah, made its decision on troop deployment unanimously, ministers said.

The deployment of Lebanese national troops to the south is part of the U.S.- and French-backed peace plan under discussion at the United Nations. Hezbollah has effectively controlled southern Lebanon since Israel withdrew in 2000.

But Siniora's government has objected to other elements of the plan, arguing that it does not call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanese territory or resolve other outstanding Israeli-Lebanese disputes.

Monday's proposal does not call for Hezbollah to disarm, but the Cabinet said it would allow only Lebanese government troops and U.N. peacekeepers to operate south of the Litani River, Finance Minister Jihad Azour said.

Israel has long supported the idea of Lebanon's army taking control of the border from Hezbollah. But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Israel expects to see details presented at the United Nations, questioning whether Hezbollah would be disarmed.

An Arab League delegation was heading to the United Nations to request changes in the draft peace plan before the Security Council votes on the proposal.

The current plan would have the Security Council call for an end to the fighting, followed by a second resolution later that would establish an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

Lebanon prefers a single resolution that would deal with a cease-fire and all of the political issues rather than a two-phase approach that the Lebanese Embassy's charge d'affaires in Washington, Carla Jazzar, said would give Hezbollah a pretext to continue fighting.

The Lebanese proposal calls for Israel to hand over the disputed territory of Shebaa Farms to the United Nations, "pending delineation of the border."

And it would bolster UNIFIL rather than creating a new peacekeeping force with more robust rules of engagement.

CNN's Paula Hancocks and Matthew Chance contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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