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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
Day-by-day: Lebanon crisis - week six
A day-by-day look at how the conflict involving Israel and Hezbollah is unfolding in its sixth week.

TUESDAY 22 AUGUST

Italy says it is willing to lead the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, and that it could send up to 3,000 troops.

But Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema says in a newspaper interview that Italy will only contribute troops if Israel gives a "renewed commitment... to respect the ceasefire".

He also asks the EU president Finland to set up an urgent meeting of foreign ministers to discuss Europe's contribution to the force.

Finland later confirms a meeting will be held with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday.

Senior US envoy Terje Roed-Larsen warns, during a visit to Jerusalem, that there is likely to be "a vacuum in Lebanon for the next two, three months".

Meanwhile, Amnesty International accuses Israel of committing war crimes by deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure in Lebanon, claims Israel denies.

The human rights group also calls for a UN investigation into whether both Israel and Hezbollah broke humanitarian law.

MONDAY 21 AUGUST

US President George W Bush announces a $230m (121m) aid package to Lebanon to help rebuild homes and infrastructure.

He also calls for the quick deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.

Italy's Prime Minister Romano Prodi tells UN Secretary General Kofi Annan his country is willing to lead the planned force.

UN Deputy General Mark Malloch Brown says Israel will not have the power to veto commitments from countries it has no diplomatic ties with.

Meanwhile, a senior UN envoy holds talks with Israeli government ministers in Jerusalem. Terje Roed-Larsen says there is "reason for optimism" that all parties will fully respect the truce.

The Israeli military says it killed two Hezbollah fighters after a group of men approached their troops in a "threatening manner" in southern Lebanon, close to the border with Israel. Hezbollah later denies the claims.

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naeem Kassem rejects calls for it to disarm. He reportedly tells the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera: "I say it clearly: the resistance will continue."

Hundreds of Israeli army reservists sign an open letter demanding a sweeping investigation into the conduct of the war, accusing Israel's military and political leaders of indecisiveness and changing the aims of the war.

Britain launches an investigation after night-vision equipment believed to be British are reportedly found in Hezbollah bunkers in southern Lebanon.

SUNDAY 20 AUGUST

Lebanon's Defence Minister Elias Murr warns that anyone firing rockets into Israel from the south will be considered a traitor.

But at the same time he expresses confidence Hezbollah is committed to the UN-brokered truce.

His words come after an Israeli raid raises concerns about the stability of the truce.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the raid deep inside Lebanon was a truce violation.

France calls for an EU meeting in the coming week to determine contributions to the UN force for south Lebanon amid continuing concern about its make-up and deployment.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he will not accept peacekeepers from nations with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations.

An Israeli panel of inquiry into the way the military campaign in Lebanon was handled holds its first meeting.

Arab League foreign ministers convene in Cairo to discuss the Lebanon conflict.

SATURDAY 19 AUGUST

Israel launches an overnight raid deep inside Lebanese territory, near Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley. One Israeli is killed and one report says three Hezbollah fighters also died.

Beirut describes the incident as a "naked violation" of the ceasefire.

But Israel insists it was tackling an attempt by Hezbollah to rearm, and therefore it is Hezbollah not Israel which is in breach of the ceasefire.

The incident comes hours after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan describes the situation on the ground as "fragile".

The first reinforcements for the UN's Lebanon peace force - 50 French engineers - come ashore at Naqoura.

The UN continues to press European nations to offer further help to the force - aiming to increase it to 3,500 within two weeks and 15,000 within months.

FRIDAY 18 AUGUST

The UN urges European countries to "step forward" to contribute more troops and make the peacekeeping force in Lebanon more multicultural.

Hezbollah handouts
Hezbollah has handed out $12,000 to residents in southern Beirut

The call follows comments by Israel that it might be "inconceivable" to accept peacekeepers from nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia that deny its right to exist.

Italy announces it is prepared to send troops and might even take over leadership of the operation.

Relatives take part in a mass funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Qana for 28 people killed in an Israeli air strike.

The UN says 400,000 Lebanese have now returned to homes in southern Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Hezbollah hands out $12,000 (6,300) each to people who have lost their flats to bombings in southern Beirut, residents say.

THURSDAY 17 AUGUST

Lebanese troops cross the strategic Litani river to take up positions as Israel's army pulls back.

Israel's military says it has passed control of half of its positions in the south to the current UN force there.

Israeli aircraft drop fresh leaflets warning refugees to stay away from southern Lebanon. Despite the warnings, displaced people continue to head home.

WEDNESDAY 16 AUGUST

Intense negotiations are under way to form the UN peacekeeping force planned to back up the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

France says it is ready to command an expanded international force working along with the Lebanese army, but only under certain conditions.

No countries have yet formally pledged troops, although several have said they will. UN officials say there is concern about the force's rules of engagement.

The ceasefire, in its third day, is holding despite sporadic violence.

The UN says around 250,000 Lebanese people have returned to their homes, and aid officials estimate that another 500,000 are on the move.

The Israelis say southern Lebanon remains unsafe until Lebanese and UN troops are deployed.






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