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Fighting flares as Israel widens Lebanon assault
Cat : Nazism
Date : 2006-08-02 08:42:48                      Reader : 294
But all goes to US that declares publicly its support of Israel against Arabs and Muslims . Even Alqodos, for Bush it is the capital of Israel . Why should Arabs and Muslims keep relations with US?! Why oil is still pumped to US?! Why our reserves are still in US ! Why not transferred to EU , China, India, Russia , and America Latin ?!

 

Associated France Press (AFP) 2/8/2006

Fighting flares as Israel widens Lebanon assault

 

by Jihad Siqlawi

TYRE, Lebanon (AFP) - Hezbollah guerrillas have fought pitched battles with advancing Israeli forces in Lebanon after Israel decided to widen its three-week-old offensive despite accelerating international efforts to broker peace.
Media reports said as many as 20,000 troops were pouring into Lebanon, where three soldiers were reported killed as clashes flared in several hotspots Tuesday along the border zone where Israel wants to eradicate Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected mounting pressure for a ceasefire despite an international outcry over an air strike on a village on Sunday that left 52 people dead, mainly women and children, in the bloodiest attack since Israel unleashed its war machine on Lebanon on July 12.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was due to hold talks with ambassadors from the five permanent Security Council members on proposals for a ceasefire that centre on the deployment of an international buffer force.

EU foreign ministers were also meeting to hammer out a common stance but the bloc is divided over whether to call for an immediate ceasefire in a conflict that has killed hundreds of people, and created a humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands displaced and much of Lebanon’s infrastructure in ruins.

An Israeli official said troops were authorised to push up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) into Lebanon, an operation Defence Minister Amir Peretz said was aimed at creating "conditions on the ground for an international force."

Lebanese television showed pictures of soldiers and tanks massed at the border, where Israeli bulldozers have already started flattening Hezbollah positions to create a buffer zone.

But an Israeli cabinet minister conceded that the military, easily the strongest force in the Middle East, would no be able to completely wipe out Hezbollah’s rocket capabilities.

"This option does not exist. Neither by air strikes, nor by a military ground operation," said Meir Sheetrit. "We can’t entirely destroy their capability to fire rockets."

And Hezbollah fired two salvos of rockets at northern Israel on Tuesday, causing no casualties but breaking a 36-hour lull, the army said.

Israel said the aim of its operation was to drive Hezbollah fighters out of territory south of the Litani River, which had roughly formed the border of a "security zone" that became a deadly quagmire for Israeli forces until they ended their 22-year occupation of Lebanon in 2000.

On Tuesday, ground troops punched across the border in four separate incursions, according to Lebanese police and the United Nations which maintains a peackeeping force in the area.

Arabic television station Al-Arabiya said three soldiers were killed fighting around the central border village of Aita ash-Shaab, where Milos Strugar, spokesman for the UN force reported heavy fighting.

Israel has not confirmed the deaths but claimed it had killed 20 Hezobllah fighters over the past two days.

Fighting was also reported around the former Hezbollah military stronghold of Bint Jbeil, scene of the deadliest ground combat since Israel’s offensive started, as well as the village of Taibe, where one soldier was reported wounded.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whos regime is one of Hezbollah’s main backers along with Iran, has ordered his forces to step up their state of alert.

"We must understand that every effort and each drop of sweat put into training now will save a drop of blood when the hour comes," Assad said in remarks reported in the Syrian press.

"The fight will continue as long as our land is occupied and our rights are violated," he added. "Victory will be ours, with the help of God."

Syria, the former power broker in Lebanon, has come under fire from both Israel and the United States over its support for Hezbollah although Israel has said it does not want to widen the conflict.

Lebanon says 750 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Israeli onslaught which was launched after Hezbollah seized two soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid on July 12.

An AFP count has put the death toll at 548, while the United Nations has said around one-third of the casualties were children. A total of 51 Israelis have been confirmed killed, the majority of them soldiers.

Rescue workers also say dozens more civilians are still buried underneath the rubble of houses destroyed in Israeli air strikes, while aid groups have complained about the continued difficulty of reaching the most afflicted areas.

Despite a promised 48-hour halt in air raids which allowed thousands of southern Lebanese to flee the war zone, warplanes also struck roads leading to Syria in the early hours of Tuesday, police said.

Facing international outrage over the killings in Qana, Olmert defiantly declared Monday that "there is no ceasefire and there will be no ceasefire in the coming days."

Hostilities would end only "when the threat over our heads is removed, when our kidnapped soldiers return to their homes and when we can live in security," he added.

As the fighting looked set to intensify, ambassadors of the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- held their first official consultations Monday to prepare a resolution.

The diplomats were to meet again Tuesday with Annan, who has issued a number of calls for an immediate ceasefire to end the worst cross-border fighting in a quarter century.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said she was convinced that "an urgent ceasefire and a lasting settlement" could be achieved this week.

France has already distributed a draft UN resolution which calls for a ceasefire and political settlement while the United States is working on its own proposal and diplomats said others are possible.

EU foreign ministers were due to hold talks to draw up a common position on a ceasefire and take stock of humanitarian efforts in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, where Israel is also continuing a deadly offensive.

In Tehran, a senior figure in Iran’s Islamic regime, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, called on Muslim countries to arm Hezbollah, the ISNA news agency reported.

"Muslim countries are expected not to deny Hezbollah and the Lebanese any kind of help, especially weapons, medicine and food," said Jannati, who heads the Guardian Council -- a powerful political watchdog in Iran.

The comments mark a break with Iran’s usual position, which emphasises "moral support" only for the Shiite movement.


 
 
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