July 21, 2006, 6:43AM
Latest Lebanon-Israel developments

— Latest developments in Israel’s offensives against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and Palestinian militants in Gaza:

_ Israel’s army said it has called up more reserve troops to augment its forces in northern Israel, fueling speculation that a major ground offensive against Lebanon is imminent.

_ A U.N. observation post just inside Israel was struck during fighting The post was severely damaged, but the Ghanian troops manning it were inside bomb shelters and were unhurt.

_Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon’s main road link to Syria with missiles and set passenger buses on fire, and part of Lebanon’s longest bridge collapsed.

_ Two Apache attack helicopters collided in northern Israel near the Lebanon border early Friday, killing one air force officer and injuring three others.

_ Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on the ancient city of Baalbek _ a major Hezbollah stronghold. Warplanes also attacked Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut and elsewhere overnight.

_ French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said his country was dispatching urgent aid to Lebanon by air and sea and he called for safe passage.

_Some 2,000 Americans waited in Lebanon to board the USS Trenton in the third day of mass evacuations that have brought U.S. Marines on combat duty back to Beirut for the first time in 22 years.

On Thursday:

_Israeli troops crossed into Lebanon to seek tunnels and weapons for a second straight day Thursday, meeting fierce resistance from Hezbollah guerrillas.

_ Official reports said at least 330 people have been killed in Lebanon, and 34 Israelis have died, since the fighting started with the capture of two Israeli soldiers during a Hezbollah raid into Israel on July 12.

_ Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the group’s leadership is intact. He appeared on Al-Jazeera a day after Israel said it bombed a bunker where he may have been hiding. Nasrallah vowed only to release two Israeli soldiers as part of a prisoner exchange.

_ U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon. Israel, backed by the U.S., immediately dismissed calls for a cease-fire and said the military operation will “take as long as it will take.”

_ Russia said Israel’s actions have gone “far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation,” and it repeated a call for an immediate cease-fire.

_ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Annan had a private two-hour dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, ahead of a planned Rice trip to the Middle East that could come as early as next week.

_ U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour criticized the rising toll, saying the shelling was invariably killing innocent civilians.

_ Israeli army strikes in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip killed three people, including a 10-year-old girl and a Palestinian militant, according to Palestinian medical personnel.

2 Comments on Latest Lebanon-Israel developments

  1. *shaking my head sadly*

    What a mess.

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