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More Israel-Hezbollah clashes

TYRE, SOUTH LEBANON, Lebanon, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Artillery and heavy gunfire between Hezbollah fighters and Israel Wednesday continued despite U.N. cease-fire efforts.

Hezbollah sources said heavy clashes erupted near the border village of Meiss Jabal following an attempt by Israeli troops to infiltrate the area.

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Earlier Wednesday Israel dropped thousands of leaflets over south Lebanon villages and towns, denouncing Hezbollah and warning against the popular Shiite militant group which is on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The leaflets were primarily addressed to the mainly Shiite population of south Lebanon and residents of Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah bastion.

"To the Lebanese citizens we demand who is defending Lebanon...? Those who are lying to you and sending your children to battles which they are not ready for or up to," said the leaflets.

"Ask yourselves who wants to go back to destruction and demolition. ... Who is a tool in the hands of its Syrian and Iranian masters. ... Hezbollah is causing a lot of harms to Lebanon," the leaflet added.

"The state of Israel is determined to protect its citizens and sovereignty," the leaflets concluded, in an implicit warning against attacks on Israeli territory.

The warning came two days after Hezbollah and Israel exchanged heavy artillery fire across the border; those clashes were followed by an Israeli raid on the Shiite group's positions in the most serious flare-up in south Lebanon in many years.

Hezbollah retorted to Israel's leaflets in a statement saying, "the enemy is communicating with us through leaflets because it is unable of dealing with us in the battle ground."

"The leaflets are mere expression of Israel's defeats in facing Hezbollah," it added.

Milosh Strugger, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, said the force command asked Israel to stop its violations of the blue line on the border. UNIFIL said the violence was initiated from the Lebanese side.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes and helicopters violated Lebanese air space several times Wednesday amid a full mobilization of Hezbollah fighters.

Monday's clashes resulted in the killing of four Hezbollah fighters, while 11 Israeli soldiers were reportedly injured.

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