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Israeli warplanes strike in eastern Lebanon

Israeli warplanes struck a target in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria on Monday, security sources told Reuters.

It was not immediately known what the target was or the exact location of the air strike, which occurred in a mountainous area near the border.

The Israeli army declined to comment but an Israeli security source confirmed that there has been "unusually intense air force activity in the north", referring to Lebanon.

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US concerns over growing extremism in the West Bank

There are concerns that US attempts at restarting peace talks in the Middle East have been hindered by a small number of Jewish extremists.

Attacks on Palestinians living in the West Bank have quadrupled in the past eight years, according to the United Nations.

ITV News' Middle East correspondent Geraint Vincent reports from Qusra, in northern the West Bank:

Read: Kerry: Progress made toward Israel Palestine deal

US condemns Israeli defence chief's 'offensive remarks'

The US State Department has described remarks said to have been made by Israel's defence minister about John Kerry as "offensive and inappropriate".

Moshe Yaalon reportedly denounced Secretary of State John Kerry's quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace as "messianic" and "obsessive".

File photo of John Kerry pictured during the press conference in Paris.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been on a diplomatic blitz in recent weeks. Credit: Messyasz Nicolas/ABACA/Press Association Images

"The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel prize and leaves us alone," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if accurate, Mr Yaalon's remarks were "offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel's security needs".

The defence minister, who stopped short of denying he had made the attack on Kerry, later described the US as an ally of utmost importance.

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Ex-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon laid to rest at family ranch

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been buried at his family ranch in the Negev desert, beside his late wife.

In the second of two funeral services held today, Sharon's sons Gilad and Omri Sharon, as well as Israel's Military Chief Benny Gantz, paid tribute to the statesman.

Ariel Sharon's family attend their father's funeral near his former residence Sycamore Farm in southern Israel. Credit: Reuters

Earlier, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US vice president Joe Biden paid homage to Mr Sharon at his state funeral service in Jerusalem.

Israeli army officers salute as they stand over Ariel Sharon's grave. Credit: Reuters

Mr Sharon died at the age of 85 on Saturday after spending the last eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.

Blair and Biden pay tribute to Sharon at memorial

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US vice president Joe Biden have paid homage to Ariel Sharon at his state funeral service in Jerusalem.

Family members walk behind the flag-draped coffin of Ariel Sharon during a memorial ceremony at the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Credit: Reuters
US vice president Joe Biden speaks in front of the coffin of Ariel Sharon during the memorial service. Credit: Reuters
Israeli army officers salute the coffin of Ariel Sharon. Credit: Reuters

Watch: Blair's tribute to 'giant of this land' Ariel Sharon

Blair's tribute to Sharon: 'A giant of this land'

Speaking at the state memorial service in the southern Negev desert, former Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to Ariel Sharon's "idea that the Jewish people, so often victims of injustice and persecution, should have a state where they could be independent and free."

"Think good or ill of Arik Sharon, agree or disagree with him, but that calling - a noble one - was plain and unalloyed," he said.

Sharon, he added, was "a warrior to create his country, yet wise enough to know that war alone could not secure his future."

"He was a giant of this land."

Ariel Sharon's burial site prepared for military funeral

The Israeli Ministry of Defence has shared this picture on Instagram of Ariel Sharon's final resting place.

The former Israeli prime minister will be buried next to his late wife Lily, spokesman Ofir Gendelman said.

A state memorial service and military funeral will take place today. Credit: Instagram / israel_mod
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