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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

July 18 (Reuters) - Following are developments in the Middle East.

* Israeli warplanes strike Lebanon on Tuesday, killing at least 23 people, including nine members of same family

* Up to six rockets slam into Haifa, no immediate word on casualties

* Russia sending deputy foreign minister to Middle East to push for end to violence

* Israel's foreign minister says Hizbollah guerrillas must free abducted soldiers

* Israeli army refuses to rule out a massive ground invasion of south Lebanon and deputy army chief says offensive could take few more weeks

* Israeli cabinet minister says Israel might at some stage have to negotiate over prisoners

* U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he expects European nations to contribute troops to proposed stabilisation force

* Poll shows majority Israelis support offensive in Lebanon

* France evacuates some 900 people from Lebanon to Cyprus in operation cut short because of security concerns

* "Israel will not agree to live in the shadow of missiles or rockets against its residents," Israeli PM Ehud Olmert says

* Lebanese prime minister says Israel's attacks have inflicted billions of dollars of damage

* Israeli security sources say Israel has about a week to hit Hizbollah before international pressure forces it to curb its offensive

* Israel's port of Haifa remains closed for second day

* U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice intends to travel to the Middle East to seek to calm violence

* Palestinian gunmen ambush Israeli troops in occupied West Bank, kill one and wound at least two

* Thousands of foreigners flee Lebanon to escape Israeli air strikes, some traveling by road to Syria, others waiting for places on U.S. and European ships.

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