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Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
British Lebanon evacuations cease
Children on board HMS Bulwark
Evacuees were taken to Cyprus
More than 2,000 UK citizens have left Lebanon and no more evacuations are planned, the Foreign Office has said.

Some 2,526 people were brought out in the wake of Israeli bombings, it said.

At least 362 Lebanese people, mostly civilians, and 37 Israelis, about half civilians, have been killed since violence erupted 13 days ago.

There are warnings of a humanitarian crisis in the country and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has described the situation as "a catastrophe".

Cyprus centre

The Foreign Office said the last scheduled evacuation mission took place on Saturday and no more were planned because the number of UK nationals who wanted to leave had dried up.

The evacuees were taken by boat to a "reception centre" at RAF Akrotiri, the British air base on the southern peninsula of Cyprus.

What is occurring at the present time in the Lebanon is a catastrophe
Prime Minister
Tony Blair

From there, they have flown to the UK. By Sunday night, 1,980 had made the journey and charter flights were scheduled to carry the remainder.

Thousands of other foreign nationals were also being evacuated.

Fighting continued between Israeli forces and Hezbollah on Monday. Meanwhile, at a news conference with the Iraqi prime minister in London, Tony Blair said he wanted to see a ceasefire on both sides. "It is important that it happens because what is occurring at the present time in the Lebanon is a catastrophe," he said.

"It is damaging that country and its fragile democracy but it is also important that we deal with the reasons why this conflict has come about."

In Beirut, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora at the start of a Middle East tour to discuss the regional crisis.

She praised his "courage and steadfastness" but has also said there is no place for "terrorist groups" like Hezbollah to attack Israel from Lebanese territory.




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