New strikes on Day 31 of Mideast fighting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/11/06-UNITED NATIONS

New strikes on Day 31 of Mideast fighting

Israeli reservists cross the border back into Israel on Friday after fighting in Lebanon. Israeli reservists cross the border back into Israel on Friday after fighting in Lebanon.
A man stands Friday in front of rubble left after Israeli strikes in the southern suburbs of Beirut. A man stands Friday in front of rubble left after Israeli strikes in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

  Diplomats at the United Nations and in Beirut on Friday stepped up efforts to secure a U.N. resolution for ending the war in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading to the United Nations on Friday to push for a vote at the Security Council, a senior State Department official told CNN.

"There is still work to be done, and the secretary will work to close the remaining items," the official said.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch was meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora in Beirut to craft a U.N. resolution and put it to a vote as soon as possible, a diplomatic source told CNN.

France's ambassador to Lebanon also met with Siniora.

In Washington, senior State Department officials said Thursday the United States and France have reached a tentative deal on a resolution that would call for an end to the fighting; an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, in parallel with the deployment of Lebanese government and U.N. troops; and language on the status of the disputed territory of Shebaa Farms, now under Israeli control.

But an outstanding question is whether Lebanon's government will OK a resolution that gives a U.N. mission the mandate to use force, diplomatic sources said.

Other sticking points in the negotiations have been Lebanon's insistence on an immediate Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon -- a move Israel says it won't make without guarantees of its border security -- and the timing of the deployment of government and U.N. troops to southern Lebanon.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan prodded the Security Council to act by week's end, "to save civilians on both sides from the nightmare they have endured for the past four weeks.

In Lebanon on Friday, the southern suburbs of Beirut were rocked by at least 11 explosions from Israeli airstrikes.

In northern Lebanon, Israeli airstrikes on a bridge near the Syrian border killed 11 Lebanese civilians and wounded 13, according to Lebanese Internal Security Forces. The bridge was between Abboudiyeh and the Aarida crossing, sources said.

Five Israeli soldiers were hurt but not seriously Friday during operations in Qantara, east of the port city of Tyre, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Also Friday, a U.N. convoy arrived at the Marjeyoun army base in southern Lebanon to help evacuate more than 350 members of Lebanon's army and police forces, Lebanese Internal Security Forces and a U.N. Forces in Lebanon spokesman said.

The base was seized by the Israeli military on Thursday.

Residents seeking to evacuate gathered at the base in their cars, hoping the U.N. convoy would provide them with safe passage, Lebanese Internal Security Forces said.

The base in a largely Christian town was occupied by Israeli forces as they moved toward a nearby town known as an area where Hezbollah fighters fired rockets into Israel, Lebanese military intelligence and Lebanese police told CNN.

Thirty-one days of fighting have killed 123 Israelis, including 40 civilians, and 861 Lebanese, mostly civilians, according to authorities in those countries.

The conflict began July 12. Israeli attacks were prompted by the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing three others in a raid into northern Israel.

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