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Friday, July 21, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

July 21 (Reuters) - Here are developments in the Middle East.

* Israel calls up army reservists for possible major ground assault against Hizbollah in Lebanon

* U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will go to Mideast Sunday while resisting international pressure for immediate cease-fire between Israel, Hizbollah in Lebanon

* Three Hizbollah rockets crash into the northern Israeli city of Haifa, wounding 19 people. Other towns also hit

* Israeli troops launch small-scale raids in Lebanon to try to stop rocket attacks

* Israel's military chief says the country's forces have killed nearly 100 Hizbollah fighters in Lebanon during the 10-day offensive

* Four Israeli soldiers are killed in fierce battles with Hizbollah guerrillas inside Lebanon

* Lebanon's defense minister says the army, which has not fought so far despite losing a score of soldiers in Israeli air strikes, would defend the country against any invasion

* Fleeing bombardment that has forced up to half a million Lebanese from their homes, thousands of foreigners reach Cyprus

* Washington supports an expanded international security force on Israel's border with Lebanon but details not fixed, a U.S. official says

* U.N. relief agencies call for urgent access to south Lebanon to get medical aid and food to tens of thousands of people driven from their homes by Israeli bombing

* Israel tells visiting U.N. mission it will not negotiate with Hizbollah through third parties, as in the past, for release of its captured soldiers

* Hizbollah says it loses two of its fighters in clashes

* Fighting has killed at least 345 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians. Nineteen Israeli soldiers and 15 civilians have died

* Hizbollah leader repeats demand that Israel swap prisoners for two Israeli soldiers captured on July 12

* American evacuees will transit Turkey in the coming days to ease the burden on Cyprus, the U.S. Embassy said

* In Gaza, Israeli shelling kills Hamas militant and four civilians, as tanks and troops withdraw from refugee camp after three-day assault

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