Sri Lankan maid killed as Israel pounds Lebanon

BEIRUT, July 18, 2006 (AFP) – Israeli jets pounded Lebanon with a blistering wave of deadly raids under cover of darkness on Tuesday, the seventh day of an assault that has sent tens of thousands of people fleeing for their lives. Helicopters, plus ferries and other passenger ships were being commandeered to pick up foreign nationals trapped in the fighting between Israel and Lebanese militants, in one of the biggest evacuations since World War II.

More than 200 people have been killed since Israel launched its air, ground and sea assault against Lebanon following the capture of two soldiers by militants from the Shiite movement Hezbollah in a deadly attack last Wednesday.

In a tit-for-tat cycle of violence, Hezbollah has kept up a relentless barrage of rocket fire on northern Israel that has killed 12 civilians and wounded dozens more.

But despite tentative efforts to try to bring about a halt to the deadliest cross-border violence in decades, the United Nations has so far failed to agree on a call for a ceasefire, underscoring rifts among world powers.

Israel, which has sent ground troops back into Lebanon for the first time since it ended its bloody occupation in May 2000, warned that its offensive could last at