Israel was waging a "war of starvation" on Lebanese civilians in an effort to force the Lebanese government to agree to Israel's demands, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said in a statement issued Friday.
His comments came after Israeli warplanes bombed bridges and roads in Christian neighborhoods north of Beirut, killing 5 civilians and making travel between suburbs increasingly difficult. Missiles struck the country's main north-south highway - its primary artery to the outside world, through Syria in the north.
"The Israeli enemy's bombing of bridges and roads is aimed at tightening the blockade on the Lebanese, cutting communications between them and starving them," Lahoud said.
He linked the new raids to Israel's failure to win quick victory in the south, where Israeli soldiers have been mired in ground battles with Hizbullah guerrillas for several days.
"Today's air raids confirm that Israel is trying to compensate for the losses of its army in the south ... by cutting off the only coastal highway remaining to transport aid to displaced people and refugees and supply the country with oil products, foodstuffs and aid," Lahoud said.
"It is a war of starvation launched by Israel against Lebanon," he said. "It is an aggression that has exceeded Israel's declared objectives. Israel has now decided to destroy Lebanon."