Israel troops 'ignored' UN plea Jul 26, 2006 9:53:41 GMT -5
Post by Tulameen on Jul 26, 2006 9:53:41 GMT -5
UN peacekeepers in south Lebanon contacted Israeli troops 10 times before an Israeli bomb killed four of them, an initial UN report says.
The post was hit by a precision-guided missile after six hours of shelling, diplomats familiar with the probe say.
UN-led crisis talks in Rome ended with no agreement to urge an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
In the latest fighting, up to 13 Israeli soldiers were reported killed in southern Lebanon on Wednesday.
Israel has not confirmed any deaths from among its soldiers, but says there have been 20 casualties in the clashes around the town of Bint Jbail.
More than 400 Lebanese and 42 Israelis have died in two weeks of conflict, which began after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on 12 July.
In other developments:
* A Jordanian military plane arrived in Beirut to evacuate some of the most seriously wounded Lebanese civilians
* Ten lorries loaded with food and medical supplies arrived in the southern town of Tyre from the capital, Beirut
* Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on TV that his organisation would begin firing rockets further south into Israel than Haifa
The four unarmed UN observers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, died after their UN post in the town of Khiam was hit by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday.
The UN report says each time the UN contacted Israeli forces, they were assured the firing would stop.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed "deep regrets" over the deaths.
Israel is conducting an investigation into the deaths.
It has rejected accusations made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that the targeting of the UN position was "apparently deliberate".
White House spokesman Tony Snow said "something went really wrong" to cause the deaths, but also said there was no reason to suggest the bombing was deliberate.
The Rome summit, called by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, brought together EU and Arab nations plus the US and Russia, but not Israel, Iran or Syria.
The conference released a declaration expressing "determination to work immediately to reach with utmost urgency a ceasefire to put an end to the current hostilities".
It also said a ceasefire "must be lasting, permanent and sustainable".
The statement called for an international force with a UN mandate for south Lebanon, and the full implementation of existing UN Security Council resolutions calling for the disarming of militias and deployment of Lebanese troops in the border region.
Mr Annan said it was important to work with the countries of the region, including Syria and Iran, to find a solution to the crisis.
But Condoleezza Rice was critical of the role of both countries.
"It's not a question of talking to Syria, it's whether Syria's prepared to act," she said.
In an impassioned speech, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora warned that more people would die if the ceasefire was delayed, and called for a Lebanese-Israeli prisoner exchange as part of plan to end the fighting.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/26 14:39:55 GMT
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