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Lebanon reels as Israel hails 'moment of truth'
Cat : Nazism
Date : 2006-07-20 08:35:07                      Reader : 280

It is a moment of truth for Nazim , terrorism . and fashisim. Also who said it is a Jewish state !! In fact it is a Zionist terrorist state loosed on terror and murder !! Our question is where is the moment of truth for Palestinian Independent State ?!

 

Associated France Press (AFP) 20/7/2006

Lebanon reels as Israel hails ’moment of truth’

 

by Marc Burleigh
BEIRUT (AFP) - Israeli jets pounded Lebanon with a new wave of deadly air raids, sending the death toll from its six-day offensive above 200, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed no let-up in a "moment of truth" for the Jewish state.

At least 51 Lebanese were killed in a day of Israeli strikes, the deadliest a missile attack on a minibus south of Beirut that left 12 people dead, as terrified foreigners and Lebanese scrambled to find a way to leave a country under an air and sea blockade.

Amid a tit-for-tat cycle of violence, six people were injured when a Hezbollah rocket ploughed into a four-storey apartment building in Haifa and a barrage of rockets rained down on northern Israel in the late evening.

In a combative and emotional address to parliament, Olmert declared the Jewish state was facing a "moment of truth" as he vowed to continue the six-day-old offensive against the "terrorists" of Hezbollah.

"We will fight with all the strength we are capable of. We will strike anyone who would strike at us and any terrorist infrastructure, until Hezbollah and (Palestinian militant group) Hamas cease attacking us," he said.

Israel’s deputy chief of staff Major General Moshe Kaplinsky told AFP that the international pressure will "allow" the offensive to last "at least" another week.

Leaders gathered at the Group of Eight summit in Russia were involved in frantic efforts to contain the crisis, floating the idea of organizing a substantial international force for Lebanon.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said such a "stabilisation" force should be much larger than the 2,000-strong UN observer mission already deployed in south Lebanon.

"The mission will have to be far more specific and clearer, and the force employed will have to be far greater," he said. But Israel said it was "too early" to discuss such a possibility.

Meanwhile a special UN envoy leading a team seeking to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah told reporters after talks in Beirut that there had been "some promising first efforts on the way forward."

"I must stress that these are first steps and much diplomatic work needs to be done," said Vijay Nambiar, who was to hold talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called for an immediate truce as he held talks in Beirut and the US State Department said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would also travel to the region.

Lebanese civilians have found themselves caught in the crossfire in a flare-up of violence. The overall toll killed in Lebanon since last Wednesday reached 199, in addition to 12 soldiers.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the Israeli action showed no sign of abating with four civilians, including a Sri Lankan, killed and four others wounded in an air strike on their villa in the coastal city of Tyre.

A barracks of the Lebanese army in the hills overlooking Beirut was bombed four times overnight by Israeli jets and rescue efforts were underway. The number of casualties was unclear.

Twenty-four Israelis have been killed since fighting began last Wednesday, including 12 civilians in a barrage of Hezbollah rocket fire across the border. Four people were injured when rockets landed on the city of Safed, hitting a hospital.

US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said there was no moral equivalence between the civilian casualties from the Israeli raids in Lebanon and those killed in Israel from "malicious terrorist acts".

"It’s simply not the same thing to say that it’s the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense," Bolton said.

The Israeli onslaught has left Lebanon virtually cut off from the outside world and much of its infrastructure in tatters, with jets hitting roads, bridges, power stations and the airport as well as Hezbollah strongholds.

It has also forced thousands of foreign residents to scramble to find a way out of the country and in the first mass evacuation by sea to neighbouring Cyprus, an Italian vessel carrying more than 300 people docked in the port of Larnaca.

It was to be followed early Tuesday by a ship chartered by the French government which left the Lebanese capital for Cyprus with some 1,250 evacuees on board.

British Foreign Office minister Kim Howells told parliament that the Royal Navy could be faced with "the biggest evacuation since Dunkirk" -- when some 330,000 soldiers were evacuated by sea from France in 1940 -- while the United States was preparing to help potentially thousands of nationals flee.

Israel unleashed its military might on Lebanon after the capture of two soldiers in a Hezbollah attack that also killed eight soldiers, opening up another battleground after a similar offensive launched three weeks ago against Gaza where militants are holding a third soldier hostage.

In other diplomatic moves, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki of Iran, one of Hezbollah’s main backers along with Syria, proposed a "ceasefire" and an exchange of prisoners between Israel and Arab militants.

"We need to reflect in a reasonable and just manner so that we can put an end to the crisis," Mottaki said after talks with Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara.

US President George W. Bush was meanwhile caught on an open microphone at the G8 summit expressing his exasperation with the situation on the ground.

Chatting with Blair over lunch, he said that "the irony is, what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over," without specifying who "they" are.

The United States has maintained Israel has every right to defend itself and also urged restraint over the offensive, which has split the international community and raised fears of dragging Syria and Iran into the conflict.

Israel says the aim of its operation is to destroy Hezbollah, which was instrumental in its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 after a long and bloody occupation.

Meanwhile, Israel also pressed on with its assault on Gaza, killing two Palestinians in new air raids and a ground incursion on Monday which also destroyed the foreign ministry.

At least 87 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since Israel sent troops back into the territory to try to free the captured soldier.


 
 
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