At least two people were killed yesterday as rockets fired by Hezbollah guerrillas pounded the northern Israeli city of Haifa, police said.
Television footage showed thick, black smoke billowing off the roof of a damaged house soon after a dozen explosions shook Israel's third-largest city.
At least 13 other people in northern Israel were wounded in the attacks, rescue officials said.
"This was a very significant barrage on Haifa... and this is an opportunity to tell the residents the war is not over. Stay in the secure areas," Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav told Israel's Channel 2 television.
Haifa residents had stayed away from work since last week, when eight people were killed in a missile attack on a train maintenance depot in the city centre. Police said a car was not directly hit by the rocket, but the driver was injured by shrapnel and he slammed into a barrier, killing him. Rockets also pounded other areas of northern Israel.
W ith the attack yesterday, a total of 17 people have been killed by Hezbollah rockets fired over the past two weeks, and 19 soldiers were killed in fighting in Lebanon.
Speaking before the weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the government would discuss ways to help the residents of northern Israel, thousands of whom have been living in bomb shelters since the fighting in Lebanon started.
Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said that the 12-day-old offensive in Lebanon would continue as Israel tries to push Hezbollah guerrillas away from the border.
"We are continuing with the operation, and the goal is to create a situation in which we have as broad a s pace for diplomatic movement as possible," Peretz said after meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.