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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Day-by-day: Lebanon crisis - week one
A day-by-day look at how the latest crisis in the Middle East has developed since the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerrillas.


One hundred and eighty Britons are evacuated from Beirut on the naval warship HMS Gloucester. The group, which sails overnight to Cyprus, are the first of thousands of UK citizens expected to be evacuated in the coming days.

They join 1,600 Europeans transferred to Cyprus on Monday and Tuesday by France and Italy.

A baby is evacuated from Lebanon

Israeli strikes continue for a seventh day, again hitting southern Beirut and also the southern coastal city of Tyre. Eleven Lebanese soldiers die under air attack in the east of Beirut, while six bodies are pulled from the rubble of a building in the town of Aitaroun.

Hezbollah rockets continue to target the Israeli port city of Haifa, although there are no reports of injuries.

The number of Lebanese killed since the start of Israel's offensive reaches about 230, with 25 Israelis also killed.

The UN warns of a humanitarian disaster as Lebanese flee their homes, with air strikes on roads and bridges hampering efforts to help them.


Israel extends its air strikes to the north, killing at least 15 people in and around Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest city.

Other targets include the nearby port of Abdeh - where nine Lebanese soldiers die - the capital, Beirut, and the eastern city of Baalbek.

Ten people are reportedly killed driving across a bridge south of Beirut as Israeli missiles strike.

In Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the attacks will go on until two captured Israeli soldiers are freed, Hezbollah is disarmed and the Lebanese army controls the south.

Injured Lebanese child
Children are among those caught up in the attacks on Lebanon
Hezbollah continues to fire rockets into Israel. One hits a block of flats in Haifa, injuring at least four people.

In a fresh barrage of rocket fire in the evening, one lands near a hospital in Safed, reportedly injuring six people.

UN chief Kofi Annan and UK PM Tony Blair suggest sending an international force in Lebanon to halt the Hezbollah attacks, but Israel says it is too soon to consider such a move.

Lebanon's President, Emile Lahoud, insists he will never betray Hezbollah and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

President Bush is caught on tape using an expletive as he discusses the crisis with Mr Blair.

The international community steps up its evacuation of foreigners from Beirut, as thousands of Lebanese flee their homes.


Israeli air-raids kill at least 23 people in southern Lebanon, including 16 in the city of Tyre. Seven Canadians of Lebanese origin are killed in a village about 33 miles (50 kilometres) south of Beirut while on a family holiday.

Hezbollah rockets kill eight Israelis in the coastal city of Haifa in the worst attack on Israel since the fighting started.

Israeli police examine scene of Haifa missile impact at rail station
Israeli suffered its worst casualties so far on Sunday

People living as far south as Tel Aviv are told to be on the alert.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the Haifa attack will have "far-reaching consequences".

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says the battle against Israel is "just at the beginning".

Iran warns Israel that any attack on Syria would incur "unimaginable losses".

Leaders of the G8 nations meeting in St Petersburg blame extremist forces for the crisis, but call on Israel to end military operations.


Israel expands its strikes in Lebanon, attacking a large number of targets including, for the first time, the northern port city of Tripoli.

Eighteen Lebanese fleeing a village are killed when their vehicles are struck with missiles on the road to the southern city of Tyre.

Lebanese soldiers and fire-fighters put out flames at a petrol station in Saida, 40km south of Beirut.
Israel has vowed to press on with attacks until soldiers are freed

The headquarters of Hezbollah are destroyed in southern Beirut.

Hezbollah responds by firing rockets on the town of Tiberias in its deepest attack into Israel so far.

Israel recovers the body of one of four sailors missing after a Hezbollah strike on a navy vessel off the Lebanese coast.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa says the Middle East peace process is dead and calls on the UN Security Council to tackle the crisis.

Lebanon's PM says his country is a "disaster zone" and calls for international help.

Speaking ahead of the G8 meeting in St Petersburg , US President George W Bush blames Hezbollah for the crisis and urges Syria to put pressure on the militants.

His host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, is more critical of Israel's massive bombing campaign, saying that the "use of force should be balanced".


Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah promises "open war" against Israel after his offices in Beirut are bombed.

The strikes are part of Israel's ongoing operation against targets across Lebanon.

Lebanese soldier in front of burning fuel tanks at Beirut airport

Bridges, roads and fuel depots are hit, with new strikes against Beirut airport. The number of Lebanese civilians killed in the strikes rises above 50, and the crisis continues to concern international powers.

The UN Security Council in an emergency meeting calls for an end to the Israeli operation, saying it is causing the death of innocent civilians.

Iran's president warns that any Israeli attack on Syria, seen as a sponsor of Hezbollah, will provoke a "fierce response".


After a night of Israeli air raids across southern Lebanon, Israeli jets strike the runways at Beirut's international airport in the morning, forcing the airport to close. Reports emerge of significant numbers of civilian casualties in Lebanese towns and villages close to Israeli targets, with at least 35 people reported killed.

Lebanese soldiers carrying away a victim of the raids

As Israel announces an air and sea blockade of Lebanon, insisting that Hezbollah will not be allowed to return to its former position along the international border, world powers react to the escalating crisis.

The US president defends Israel's right to defend itself from attack, but France, Russia and the EU are all critical of a "disproportionate" use of force.

As night falls a rocket hits Israel's third-largest city, Haifa, although Hezbollah denies responsibility.


Hezbollah fighters based in southern Lebanon launch Katyusha rockets across the border with Israel, targeting the town of Shlomi and outposts in the Shebaa Farms area.

Israeli tank fire against Hezbollah positions

In a cross-border raid, guerrillas seize two Israeli soldiers before retreating back into Lebanon, insisting on a prisoner exchange and warning against confrontation. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert describes the capture of the soldiers as "an act of war".

In response Israeli planes bomb Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon and troops cross into southern Lebanon for the first time since the military withdrawal of 2000.

However, the troops encounter heavy resistance - eight are killed and two others are injured during fighting with Hezbollah. Israel calls up reserve troops as it pledges a swift and large-scale response to the Hezbollah attack.

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