Lebanon mini-war costs Israel upward of $130 million

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JERUSALEM — Sixteen days of fighting on the Israeli-Lebanese border cost the Jewish state more than $130 million.

Finance Minister Avraham Shochat estimated this week that the damage caused by Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel totaled about $33 million, including the destruction of property and losses to businesses and wage-earners.

Shochat put the cost of Israel's military operation in southern Lebanon at $100 million.

One Israeli official reportedly said that 1,700 apartments and 50 vehicles were damaged by Katyusha rockets.

During the 16-day Operation Grapes of Wrath that began April 11, Israeli warplanes flew 1,600 sorties over Lebanon, hitting 410 targets in an effort to put an end to Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel.

Israeli tanks fired 18,000 shells at Hezbollah targets.

In Lebanon, news reports estimated that some 170 to 200 Lebanese were killed in the fighting, most of them civilians. At least 91 refugees died when Israeli shells hit a U.N. base in the southern Lebanese village of Kana.

Lebanese officials estimated that the damage caused by Israeli strikes at between $500 million to $1 billion.

During the fighting, Hezbollah fired some 700 Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, injuring 127 Israelis, three of them moderately to seriously.

The fighting ended Saturday after the United States helped negotiate a cease-fire agreement.