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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Violence in Lebanon Rages As Diplomatic Efforts Falter

BEIRUT -- With hopes of a cease-fire in south Lebanon on the wane Thursday, Israeli warplanes attacked Palestinian guerrillas near the Syrian border and targeted roads and services vital to civilians.

Israel warned the Lebanese army not to try to repair roads and bridges destroyed in its 15-day-old air, naval and artillery blitz, saying to do so would endanger work crews.

Eight Lebanese civilians were wounded in Thursday's violence. Rockets fired by Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas wounded three soldiers and a woman in northern Israel. That raised the overall toll on both sides to 152 people killed, most of them Lebanese civilians, and about 337 wounded. Some 500,000 Lebanese and more than 20,000 Israelis have been displaced.

The fighting raged on as prospects of a U.S.-brokered truce turned gloomier despite shuttles by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette, pressing rival cease-fire blueprints, between Israel and Syria over the last week. Christopher on Thursday suddenly sounded downbeat, prompting speculation his mission could end without a settlement.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Thursday a cease-fire was not "a foregone conclusion," noting that "the remaining issues are very serious." In Tel Aviv, military sources said Israel could escalate its offensive if no cease-fire materializes soon.

Lebanese leaders who met Christopher on Wednesday told him they wanted changes to the U.S. proposals. Peres on Thursday rejected some of the proposed amendments.

Christopher met in Damascus on Thursday with Syrian President Hafez Assad and was expected to see him again later in the day.

De Charette pursued a parallel truce effort in Damascus, Jerusalem and Beirut.