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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 05:17 GMT 06:17 UK
UN fails to agree Lebanon truce
Israeli strikes are targeting Lebanese infrastructure

The UN Security Council has failed to agree on a statement calling for a ceasefire in Lebanon, despite pleas from the Lebanese prime minister.

Lebanese diplomats blamed the US for blocking the ceasefire move.

Early on Sunday, Israel began a fifth day of bombardments as part of an operation that followed Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah has in turn maintained its rocket fire into Israel.

Power station

The current president of the UN Security Council, French ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, said there would be "no agreement tonight" on a truce statement following a closed-door session late on Saturday.

Fouad Siniora
Lebanon is a disaster zone
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora

Lebanese representative Nouhad Mahmoud said he was "very disappointed" and that this would "send a very wrong signal not only to the Lebanese people, but to Arab people".

On Saturday, Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora had made an emotional appeal for a UN-supervised ceasefire to end Israeli raids that have killed more than 80 Lebanese.

Israel maintained its raids on Sunday, targeting Hezbollah's al-Manar television building, the Israeli army said.

Israeli television reported that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah was wounded in a raid but al-Jazeera television quoted Hezbollah as denying this.

Associated Press news agency said Israel had bombed the Jiyeh power station south of Beirut and that firefighters did not have enough water to douse the flames.

Al-Manar TV said Israeli air-to-ground and gunboat shells had hit a bridge on the road from Beirut to the airport.

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Residential areas in the Haret Hreik and Bir al-Abed districts had also come under attack, the TV said.

In attacks on Saturday, Israeli warplanes fired rockets on the Lebanon-Syrian border.

And 18 Lebanese civilians, including women and children, were killed on the coastal road to the southern city of Tyre when their vehicles were struck by missiles as they fled a village.

The Israeli army has said any responsibility for endangering the civilian population rests with Hezbollah.

Peace 'dead'

The conflict has dominated the current G8 summit in Russia. Host President Vladimir Putin called for "maximum effort" to defuse tension.

Beirut residents voice concern over conflict

He condemned "terrorist acts that involve kidnapping people".

But he added: "We have the impression that, besides rescuing the servicemen who have been abducted, Israel is pursuing other, wider objectives."

US President George W Bush put the blame squarely on Hezbollah and said Syria should act to curb the group's operations.

And in Cairo, Arab foreign ministers holding an emergency conference blamed the current outbreak of violence on the failure of the Middle East peace process.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the process was dead.

The final resolution of the meeting called for an immediate ceasefire and a plan to take the Arab-Israeli conflict back to the UN Security Council.





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