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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 August 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
UN considers Lebanon truce text
Lebanese soldier beside destroyed anti-aircraft battery in Tyre
Tyre has been one of Israel's leading targets recently
The UN Security Council has begun considering a draft resolution aimed at halting fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

The US said it was encouraged by the response, but Lebanon criticised the draft as inadequate.

The draft demands that Hezbollah halt all attacks and Israel stop all offensive military operations.

A barrage of Hezbollah rockets killed at least nine Israelis, while eight Lebanese died in Israeli air raids.

Witnesses reported a huge barrage of rockets fired on Kiryat Shmona and other northern Israeli towns from across the border.

And the Israeli military said two reservists had been killed in separate clashes with Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon. They were the first reservists to die in the offensive.

Meanwhile Israeli air strikes virtually cut Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley off from the outside world.

Roads in the region were targeted, as well as positions held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a pro-Syrian group.

In the south, five civilians died early on Sunday in an air raid on the village of Ansar, according to Lebanese sources. Reports say three others were killed in an attack on the coastal town of Naqura.

Israel's campaign began three weeks ago after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers.

'No delusions'

Correspondents say a vote at the UN could come on Monday or Tuesday. There is little sign hostilities will abate before then.

The draft resolution, agreed after much debate between France and the US, calls for a "full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations".

Map

The text does not include the phrase "immediate cessation of hostilities" that France had wanted or an explicit demand for the return of the captured Israeli soldiers - a US preference.

The French and US envoys to the UN said they were encouraged by the initial reactions from others on the 15-member Security Council.

The White House said President George W Bush was happy with the draft but had "no delusions about what lies ahead".

A second resolution would be needed later to authorise an international peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The hatred for each other, between Jews and Arabs in the region, is so deep that even a UN resolution may not help. It may just provide a short term remedy
Willy Kisitu, Wroclaw, Poland

A Lebanese envoy to the UN, Nouhad Mahmoud, said: "We would have liked to see our concerns more reflected in the text."

"It lacks, for instance, a call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces which are now in Lebanon, and that's a recipe for more confrontation," he said.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the draft was "not adequate".

Lebanon is not currently a member of the Security Council, but the US says its government is being consulted about negotiations at the UN.

Senior Israeli officials said they were broadly happy with the text of the resolution.

Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said it was good for Israel but the country had to pursue its military goals.

"Even if it is passed, it is doubtful that Hezbollah will honour the resolution and halt its fire," he said.

"Therefore we have to continue fighting, continue hitting anyone we can hit in Hezbollah, and I assume that as long as that goes on, Israel's standing, diplomatically and militarily, will improve."

Commando raid

On Saturday, Israel dropped leaflets on the Lebanese city of Sidon, warning people there to leave.

The Israeli army said it intended to attack Hezbollah rocket-launching sites in the area and wanted to avoid civilian casualties.

In other developments:

  • Syria accused Israel in a letter to the UN of intentionally bombing a Lebanese village close to the Syrian border on Friday, killing 28 people, mostly Syrians
  • Hezbollah fired about 170 rockets into northern Israel on Saturday, killing three women in a mainly Arab village
  • An Israeli commando raid on Tyre on Saturday left several militants dead and eight Israeli troops wounded, the Israeli army said. Hezbollah said it repelled the raid
  • Thousands marched in London, UK, calling for an immediate ceasefire




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Why Lebanon is unhappy with the resolution



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