This is the Middle East Crisis VI open-thread. We all hope this doesn’t turn into the July War, but these days? Please post all developments, news stories, comments, links, theories, ideas, etc. here in this thread. The earlier threads can be found here and here and here. and here. and here. and here.. If you post comments in this thread, please do not post identical news articles in the newsqueue.
he US State Department on Sunday said that Israel ”“ facing an international outcry over a bombing raid in Lebanon that killed up to 56 civilians ”“ had agreed to a 48-hour suspension in aerial bombardments to allow for an investigation into the killings.
Six Israeli soldiers were injured in combat in the town of Taibe in southern Lebanon, the Israeli government said July 30. The soldiers were wounded by Hezbollah fire. Six Hezbollah gunmen were killed in the attacks.
More as it develops. Updated map below.
The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted a statement July 30 concerning the Israeli attack on the southern Lebanese city of Qana. The statement said the UNSC “strongly deplores” the killing of civilians and the loss of innocent life in the attack, calling on the secretary-general to present a report within one week regarding the circumstances of the attack.
Israel has agreed to suspend its aerial bombardment of southern Lebanon for 48 hours, effective immediately, to allow for an investigation into Sunday’s bombing that killed 54 civilians, a U.S. State Department official said early Monday.
Israel will also coordinate with the United Nations to allow a 24-hour window for residents of southern Lebanon to leave the area if they wish, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told a briefing in Jerusalem.
An Israeli government official confirmed Israel’s intention to pause air operations over southern Lebanon for 48 hours, The Associated Press reported July 30. An unnamed U.S. State Department source said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had sought such a temporary cease-fire in advance of the bombing of Qana, Lebanon, AP also reported.
Make sure you watch the video until the end! “F*^k the bombs,” indeed.
The U.S. State Department said July 30 that Israel agreed to a 48-hour cessation of airstrikes in southern Lebanon beginning immediately. The reason given was to allow for an investigation of the Israeli airstrike in the Lebanese village of Qana. We assume this is also intended to permit humanitarian assistance and the extraction of civilians to proceed. No mention was made of a halt to ground operations, but it was said Israel reserves the right to strike to suppress rocket fire into Israel. That means that unless Hezbollah also suspends rocket operations, Israel will continue its strikes.
The Lebanese army opened fire on Israeli helicopters trying to land near a town in the Bekaa valley, preventing them from setting down, Lebanese security sources and witnesses said.
via Candy’s comment.
Israeli forces and Hezbollah continue to trade gunfire in the area around the Lebanese village of Taibe, sources reported July 30. Due to mounting international pressure, Israel may be preparing for a major ground offensive to complete the dismantling of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and would wait to mop up remaining Hezbollah forces until after a cease-fire, the source added.
The Israeli bombardment of Hezbollah’s infrastructure has taken its toll on the organization, according to a source in Lebanon. At least 600 Hezbollah fighters have been killed as of July 30, and most of the group’s social, military and economic infrastructure has been destroyed.
At this moment there appears to be a major shift taking place in the war. While the scope of the operation is unclear, it appears the Israelis have shifted to a new phase of the war, focusing on broader and more intense ground operations. It may be that this is the opening phase of a broader raid-in-force against Hezbollah that might go beyond southern Lebanon. We do not know this for certain, but it does warrant alerting our readers to the possibility. Various bits of evidence point in this direction.
For example, early Sunday Israeli time, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman was quoted as saying, “We have drawn our conclusions from battles in other areas, we have learned our lesson and are about to embark on another mission. There is no intention whatsoever to occupy this region or any other — only to arrive, to act, and when we’re done, to get out.”
At least 140 Katyusha rockets struck northern Israel on July 30, the most rockets fired at Israel since July 12. Previous reports had put the number of rockets at more than 100. The rockets hit the cities of Qiryat Shemona, Acre, Nahariya, Ma’a lot, Rosh Pina, and Tiberias.
Israel: Rice Cuts Israel Trip Short
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has canceled the remainder of her trip to Israel in the wake of an Israeli attack on Qana, Lebanon, and will be returning to Washington on July 31, according to the Associated Press. Rice plans to work on a U.N. Security Council resolution to help end the crisis in Lebanon.
34 Youths Among 56 Dead in Israeli Attack
AP – An Israeli airstrike killed at least 56 people, including at least 34 children, in a southern Lebanese village Sunday, the Lebanese Red Cross said. It was the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting. Lebanese security officials put the toll at 57 dead. Security officials said the toll rose dramatically after 18 people from two families were found in a single room of the building, where dozens of people had been taking refuge from the fighting.
* Arab League head demands international inquiry into Qana deaths
* UN to hold Lebanon crisis talks
* World condemns attack in Qana – Quotes here.
* Rice says time for cease-fire after IAF strike kills 54 people in Qana
* Israel raid kills 54 civilians, Lebanon shuns Rice
* Hamas vows attacks on Israel after Qana bombing
Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded the Shi’ite Muslim town of Khaim in southern Lebanon on Sunday as Israel’s war against Hizbollah guerrillas entered its 19th day, security sources said.
They said Israeli tanks were massing near the Israeli border village of Metula as the bombardment took place.
Following a meeting July 29 with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressed for a deal between Israel and Lebanon to install an international peacekeeping force to end the 19-day-old war, according to Reuters. Rice did not call for an immediate cease-fire. She will meet July 30 with Israeli defense and foreign ministers and later with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
An Israeli air strike closed the Masnaa border crossing between Lebanon and Syria July 29, according to Al Jazeera. Aircraft fired three missiles at the border crossing, closing traffic in both directions. The Masnaa crossing is the main transit point between Syria and Lebanon. It had been used by people fleeing from the conflict into Syria and for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Lebanon.
China reiterated its threat July 28 to stall U.N. Security Council discussions on key topics, such as Iran’s nuclear program, because of the weak response to the killing of U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. One of the peacekeepers was Chinese. China’s U.N. ambassador said the resolution on the attack was “watered down” and did not go far enough in condemning Israel.
Five artillery rockets launched from Lebanon on July 28 hit the northern Israeli town of Afula. The town is about seven miles south of Nazareth — which had been the farthest a Hezbollah rocket had reached into Israel until the July 28 strikes.
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