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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 01:39 GMT 02:39 UK
UN Council 'shocked' by Qana raid
UN soldiers search for bodies under rubble in Qana
The council stopped short of calling for an immediate ceasefire
The UN Security Council has expressed its "shock and distress" at an Israeli attack in which 54 Lebanese civilians, many of them children, were killed.

A statement agreed by all 15 members said the council "strongly deplores this loss of innocent lives".

However, it did not call for an immediate truce as requested by the Secretary General Kofi Annan.

More than 30 children died in the raid on Qana on Sunday, the deadliest Israeli raid since hostilities began.

Ceasefire

The statement was approved by a unanimous vote of the 15-member council at an emergency session on Sunday.

Map

It also called for a permanent and sustainable ceasefire, but not an immediate truce as urged by Kofi Annan.

Washington continues to oppose calling for an immediate ceasefire at the UN.

President George W Bush said the US wanted "to develop a resolution that will enable the region to have a sustainable peace, a peace that lasts, a peace that will enable mothers and fathers to raise their children in a hopeful world".

The attack has led to the suspension of air strikes by Israel for 48 hours so that an investigation can be carried out into the Qana bombing.

Condemnation

Many countries condemned the attack, and France has circulated a draft resolution calling for an immediate end to the fighting.

Earlier, Mr Annan had told the council, "Action is needed now before many more children, women and men become casualties of a conflict over which they have no control."

HAVE YOUR SAY
Surely the lives of the innocent should take precedence
Nikki, Warwickshire

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Sunday the situation could not continue and that all hostilities ought to cease once a UN resolution was adopted.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson, who is travelling with Mr Blair in the US, said the prime minister accepted that Qana had "changed things".

In a joint statement issued with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Blair said "the tragic events of today have underlined the urgency of the need for a ceasefire as soon as possible".

[Note: The number of people killed in the Israeli bombing of Qana was later revised. The Washington based human rights group Human Rights Watch investigated the incident and issued a report on 3 August saying that 28 people were known to have died, while 13 people were missing.]


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