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7/31/2006 World News: Israeli Warplanes in Action Despite Promised Bombing Pause


Israel – Lebanon: Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in southern Lebanon today (Monday) despite a promised 48-hour suspension of aerial bombing, and the Israeli government said it is expanding its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas.
Israeli officials say the air strike (near Taibe village) was ordered to support ground troops battling Hezbollah militants, after an antitank missile hit an Israeli armored vehicle and wounded three soldiers.
Israeli had said a 48-hour pause in its aerial bombing campaign in Lebanon began before dawn today, but also warned that air strikes against Hezbollah could resume at any time, in the event of an imminent guerrilla attack.
Israeli naval forces fired on a Lebanese military position today north of the port city of Tyre, killing one Lebanese soldier and wounding three others. And reports from the other side of the Israeli border say several Hezbollah rockets hit the (Israeli) town of Kiryat Shemona but caused no casualties.

Israel-Lebanon diplomacy: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she believes a full ceasefire to end fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrilla group in Lebanon can be reached this week.
Rice said in Jerusalem today (Monday) that she will call for a U.N. resolution this week on the ceasefire, as well as establishment of an international stabilization force for Lebanon.
Speaking to reporters before returning to Washington (today), Rice said there is an emerging consensus on the conditions needed for a ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
Senior officials in Russia and France are calling for Israel's 48-hour pause in aerial bombing to be expanded to a full and immediate ceasefire that would halt all fighting.

Afghanistan: NATO forces took over security operations today (Monday) from the U.S.-led coalition in six key southern Afghan provinces.
The number of NATO troops in Afghanistan will nearly double, to around 18 thousand by mid-August. U.S. forces will provide combat support for the alliance in the south and continue their own hunt for terrorists, including al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
In the eastern Afghan city if Jalalabad today, a car bomb exploded outside a mosque, killing at least six people and wounding 16 others. The apparent target of the bomb, a provincial governor (of Nangarhar, Gul Agha Sherzai), was unharmed. He was among thousands of people attending a memorial service of a mujahedin leader (Younis Khalis) during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Iraq: U.S. officials in Iraq say American warplanes have carried out an air strike on a building southwest of Baghdad used by militants, killing two militants.
Officials say the strike Sunday targeted a building used by militants to carry out deadly attacks in the area.
The U.S. military also says four Marines were killed in combat Saturday in western al-Anbar province.
In a separate incident late Saturday, Iraqi police say a car bomb killed two people near the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Kirkuk. No Americans were hurt in the blast. Until recently, Kirkuk was considered a relatively safe city.

Sri Lanka: Officials in Sri Lanka say five soldiers have been killed and six wounded in heavy fighting today (Monday) to end a Tamil rebel blockade of a reservoir in the northeastern part of the country.
The sixth day of fighting came after a regional Tamil Tiger leader said the four-year-old ceasefire with Sri Lanka's government is void and the island's two-decade civil war has resumed.
S. Elilan, head of the Tigers' political wing in the eastern district of Trincomalee, blames army assaults for forcing a return to civil war.
The military accuses the Tamil Tigers of blocking a sluice gate in Trincomalee district to choke off water supplies to thousands of Sinhalese farmers on government land.

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