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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

July 23 ,(Reuters) - Here are developments in the Middle East on the 12th day of Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

* Israeli air raids hit Beirut and east and south Lebanon, killing eight civilians and wounding 100

* Scores of Hizbollah rockets that slammed into northern Israeli towns kill two people and wound 70; about 50 people are wounded in similar attacks across northern Israel

* U.N. official says "horrific" Israeli bombing of Beirut neighborhood where Hizbollah had its headquarters has breached humanitarian law; says $100 million urgently needed to tackle humanitarian crisis in Lebanon

* Syrian deputy foreign minister calls for immediate cease-fire, followed by diplomacy to end conflict, says Syria ready for dialogue with U.S.

* Israel is prepared to back deployment of temporary international peacekeepers in southern Lebanon to ensure Hizbollah is removed from its border

* Civilians are taking the brunt of the 12-day war that has cost 368 lives in Lebanon and 37 in Israel

* Envoys from France, Germany and Britain meet separately with Israeli officials in hopes of ending the fighting

* U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heads for Middle East after White House talks with President Bush and Saudi officials

* Thousands fleeing Israel's bombing of Lebanon pour into Cyprus, Turkey; U.N. appeals for aid for those staying behind

* Israeli Prime Minister Olmert accuses the international media of bias for not portraying the "murderous viciousness" of Hizbollah

* Syria will enter the conflict if Israeli ground forces enter Lebanon and approach Syria, information minister says.

* The condition of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, comatose since January, has deteriorated in the past two days

* Israeli soldiers oust Hizbollah guerrillas from hilltop village of Maroun al-Ras, just inside Lebanon, where six Israeli commandos have been killed this week. Hizbollah says three guerrillas were killed there.

* Israeli officials estimate one third to half of all residents of northern Israel have fled to escape Hizbollah rocket attacks, Haaretz newspaper reports.
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