Middle East Updates

Just to keep you updated:
  • Israeli airstrike on south Lebanese village of Qana kills at least 56 Lebanese, almost all of them women and children, in deadliest strike in 19-day war.
  • Israel suspends airstrikes on south Lebanon for 48 hours and guarantees 24-hour safe passage for residents to leave the area in face of widespread outrage over Qana attack.
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was in Jerusalem, decides to cut short a Mideast mission and return to Washington Monday.
  • Rice telephones Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to say she would stay in Jerusalem to work on a peace package, rather than make a planned visit to Beirut. Saniora says he told her not to come.
  • The U.N. Security Council meets in emergency session and approves a presidential statement calling for an end to violence in Lebanon and deploring Israel's airstrike of civilians in Qana, but stops short of condemning Israeli attack.
  • Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, demands immediate cease-fire in Lebanon, warning Muslim world will "not forgive" nations that stand in the way of stopping the fighting.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says campaign to crush Hezbollah could last another two weeks.
  • Lebanon says it no longer would negotiate a U.S. peace package without an unconditional cease-fire.
  • Some 5,000 protesters in Beirut attack a U.N. building and burn American flags, shouting: "Destroy Tel Aviv! Destroy Tel Aviv!"


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