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      300-400 Hizbullah Fighters Killed

      Government ministers revealed Tuesday that between 300-400 Hizbullah fighters have been killed since the start of the IDF counter-terrorism offensive in Lebanon.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
      First Publish: 8/1/2006, 8:21 PM / Last Update: 8/1/2006, 10:29 PM

      Justice Minister Haim Ramon, who said that 300 of the enemy's forces have been eliminated, revealed that IDF sources estimate the total number of Hizbullah fighters to be 2,000. "The objective is to hit the fighters and the weaponry of the Hizbullah," Ramon told a Channel 10 interviewer, "and so far, we have done a pretty good job."

      The minister went on to say that Israel would "not return to a situation in which the Hizbullah does what it wants - kidnapping, killing or firing Katyushas at northern communities - and we sit by fearfully. Thanks to the decision of the prime minister, the rules of the game have changed. What was is not what will be."

      Ramon further stated that the IDF will renew its air strikes inside Lebanon tomorrow morning, at the conclusion of the 48-hour suspension of such attacks that Israel announced on Sunday.

      Tourism Minister Yitzchak Herzog today mentioned a higher figure of Hizbullah fighters killed by IDF forces, about 400. He further elaborated that several Hizbullah headquarters and much of the organization's equipment have been destroyed in IDF operations.

      On Tuesday evening, IDF air force planes struck three underground bunkers of the Hizbullah in the western sector of southern Lebanon.

      On the Gaza front of the Re-Engagement War, Israeli forces killed two people Tuesday in a strike on rocket launchers in northern Gaza. Terrorist cells fired Kassam rockets into the western Negev earlier in the day.

      IDF spokesmen said that the soldiers initially refrained from hitting the rocket launchers when they spotted a group of children in the area. Later, when a different group, thought to be adults, approached the launchers, IDF forces opened fire. Arab sources claimed that the victims, including a teenager and a young woman, were innocent bystanders.

      "We don't fire on children, despite the fact that terrorists make cynical use of them," an IDF spokesman said. "When a group of adults was identified, fire was initiated, which prevented future Kassam rocket launches at Israel."