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7/25/2006 World News: Hezbollah Fire Rocket Barrage at Haifa, Fight Israeli Attempt to Capture Border Town


Israel – Lebanon: Hezbollah has fired a barrage of rockets at the northern Israeli city of Haifa, as Israeli forces battled guerrilla fighters near the Lebanese border town of Bint Jbail.
Israel has been trying for several days to capture the town described as a major Hezbollah stronghold in the area.
Israeli officials say more than a dozen rockets slammed into Haifa today (Tuesday), causing some injuries but no fatalities.
Lebanese security officials say at least seven people, including several children, were killed in an overnight missile strike on a house in the town of Nabatiyeh, north of Tyre. They say it was not immediately clear why the house was targeted.
Israeli military officials say two Israeli soldiers died and at least 13 others were wounded in battles Monday. They say several Hezbollah fighters were also killed, but no confirmed figure was available.

Lebanon Diplomacy: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as Israel's offensive in Lebanon against Hezbollah guerrillas continued for the 14th day.
Shortly before today's (Tuesday's) meeting in Jerusalem, Mr. Olmert vowed to press on with the offensive. But he said Israel will work with the United States to alleviate humanitarian problems caused by the conflict.
Standing beside the Israeli leader, Rice repeated the U.S. position that a cessation of hostilities must come with conditions to make peace sustainable.

Lebanon Aid: U.S. troops are set to distribute medical kits and blankets today (Tuesday) in Lebanon, the first part of 30 million dollars in American humanitarian aid going to victims of the Middle East conflict.
A senior State Department official (Assistant Secretary of State David Welch) says the first shipment includes 20 thousand blankets and medical supplies for 100 thousand people.
President Bush's spokesman at the White House (Tony Snow) says U.S. helicopters and ships are delivering the supplies. American authorities are in contact with Israel and Lebanon to ensure safe corridors are available for aid shipments.
The United States announced the relief package in response to a U.N. appeal for 150 million dollars to help Lebanese civilians displaced from their homes by Israeli bombing and shelling.

ASEAN Summit: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is accusing Israel of "disproportionate, indiscriminate and excessive use of force" in its fight against Hezbollah and Palestinian militants.
ASEAN members meeting in Malaysia called on the U.N. Security Council today (Tuesday) to demand an immediate Middle East ceasefire and deploy U.N. peacekeeping troops in the region." hspace=2 src="/lao/images/ap_ASEAN_meeting_table_25jul06_eng_195.jpg" width=210 align=right vspace=2 border=0>
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi of Malaysia, ASEAN's current chair, denounced Israel's tactics in a speech to foreign ministers gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the annual Southeast Asian summit.
Mr. Abdullah says Israel's bombing campaign, while supposedly aimed at Hezbollah militants, is destroying Lebanon's towns and cities. He calls it an "unconscionable" act of collective punishment imposed on the Lebanese people.

Burma – Child Soldiers: A U.S. diplomat says Burma is believed to have the largest number of child soldiers in the world.
A statement by the U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs to the U.N. (Jackie W. Sanders) said today (Monday) the U.S.-based group, Human Rights Watch, has documented the widespread forced recruitment of boys as young as 11-years-old by Burma's army.
The ambassador says many child soldiers in Burma are forced to fight and commit abuses against ethnic minorities, whose armed opposition groups also use children soldiers, but to a lesser degree.

Thailand - Court - Elections: A court in Thailand has sentenced three election commissioners to four years in prison for abusing their powers during April's parliamentary elections. Bangkok's criminal court ruled the three officials had acted in favor of candidates from the ruling Thai Rak Thai party of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The officials were convicted of trying organize a rerun of parliamentary elections (on April 23rd) to help Thai Rak Thai fill the seats left vacant after the April 2nd ballot.

ASEAN Burma: Malaysia's Abdullah: Burma Hurts ASEAN's Credibility.

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