View Full Version : Israeli Attacks Kill 55 Lebanese

08-07-2006, 10:05 PM
Israeli attacks kill 55 Lebanese


By Andrew Marshall
Mon Aug 7, 2006 4:40 PM ET

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Israeli attacks killed at least 55 people in Lebanon on Monday and a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution to end the 27-day-old conflict was delayed after Arab nations objected to the draft.

An Israeli strike on a crowded area in Shi'ite-dominated south Beirut destroyed a building and killed at least 15 people, rescue workers said.

At least 30 were wounded. Rescuers dug through the rubble with a bulldozer and with their hands as fire engines doused burning ruins and the charred shells of cars.

Israeli air raids killed at least 40 people in southern Lebanon and the eastern Bekaa Valley.

The Israeli army said three of its soldiers were killed in battles with guerrillas in southern Lebanon.

With diplomatic efforts to end the conflict stalled, Israel said it may expand its ground offensive. The Israeli army told residents of south Lebanon that any vehicles seen moving after 10 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Monday could be targeted.

"Anyone who does travel is taking a high risk. There is no end period," an army source said. "This will allow us to track anyone potentially trying to launch rockets."

Choking back tears as he spoke of civilian suffering at an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora demanded "a quick and decisive" ceasefire that had to include a withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The ministers agreed to send a delegation to the United Nations to press for changes to a draft resolution drawn up by Washington and Paris.

Diplomats said the Security Council was unlikely to vote on it until Wednesday after the delegation made its case.

Lebanon's government said it would send 15,000 Lebanese troops to the south, a move long demanded by the international community which could pave the way for amendments to the draft.

Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said the army would move into south Lebanon with the help of the existing U.N. peacekeeping force there as Israeli soldiers withdrew.

Israel has said it will not pull out around 10,000 troops in the south until a strengthened international force is deployed.

Lebanese Health Minister Mohammad Khalifeh said the war had killed 925 people, mostly civilians, with 75 missing, presumed dead. The toll did not include Monday's casualties. About one-third of the dead were children under the age of 13.

Ninety-seven Israelis have also been killed.

President Bush said he wanted a U.N. resolution as quickly as possible and called on Syria and Iran to rein in Hizbollah.

"Syria and Iran sponsor and promote Hizbollah activities all aimed at creating chaos, all aimed at using terror to stop the advance of democracies," he said.

Hizbollah guerrillas fired more rockets into northern Israel, wounding one person, a day after rockets killed 15 Israelis in the deadliest day of the war for the Jewish state.

Israeli Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser said Israel had inflicted serious damage on Hizbollah but the group still possessed thousands of short-range rockets and hundreds of longer-range weapons.

"Crushing Hizbollah is not like ordering pizza. It takes time," he told a news conference.

Israeli aircraft also hit the last coastal crossing on the Litani river between Sidon and Tyre, cutting the main artery for aid supplies to civilians in the south, aid agencies said.

"We must be able to have movement throughout the country to deliver supplies. At this point we can't do that," said the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon, David Shearer.

"The deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure is a violation of international law."

International aid groups said Israel was providing no security guarantees, effectively paralysing its delivery of aid south of the Litani. About 22,000 people remain in the region, less than one fifth of the pre-war population, U.N. figures say.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had to carry four tonnes of medical aid and fuel over a tree trunk across the Litani.

Aid groups said around half a million displaced who had fled to Beirut and the surrounding mountains were putting increasing pressure on resources.

In one Beirut building gutted by Lebanon's 1979-1990 civil war, about 100 people seeking shelter shared one toilet that flowed into an open septic tank.

"I stayed in the bombing for three weeks but we finally had to leave. Today I found out my house is destroyed," said Ahmad Taube.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said the ground campaign would be expanded if there was no diplomatic solution soon.

Israeli bombing has already pounded Lebanon's roads, bridges, ports, airports and other installations, though power, water and telephone systems are still more or less functioning.

Hizbollah announced the deaths of two more of its fighters. An Israeli army spokesman said over 400 Hizbollah fighters had been killed in the war. Lebanese security sources say Hizbollah has lost about 90 dead, some 35 more than it acknowledges.