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Monday, July 24, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

July 24 (Reuters) - Here are developments in the Middle East on the 13th day of Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

* Rice arrives in Beirut for talks with political leaders but not Hizbollah; official says she will announce aid for Lebanon.

* Israeli troops battle Hizbollah as they push north from Lebanese border village Maroun al-Ras towards Bint Jbeil, about 4 km inside Lebanon. Israel says nine soldiers wounded; Al Jazeera television says two Israeli soldiers killed.

* Army says it seized two Hizbollah guerrillas during fighting in Maroun al-Ras. Hizbollah has not confirmed capture.

* Israeli warplanes pound south Lebanon.

* Israeli helicopter crashes in northern Israel, causing two casualties, Israeli army says. Al Arabiya TV says two soldiers killed, several wounded in the crash.

* Death toll reaches 372 in Lebanon, 37 Israelis killed.

* Israeli tank shell hits crowd in northern Gaza Strip, kills two and wounds several, medics say.

* Several EU members ready to contribute to U.N.-led Lebanon peace force, EU's foreign policy chief Solana says.

* Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah tells paper Israeli incursions in south Lebanon will not stop Hizbollah from firing rockets into northern Israel.

* U.S. will soon provide Israel with "bunker buster" bombs to target Nasrallah, Saudi's Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reports.

* Peres tells paper Israel wants a "serious" international force in southern Lebanon that will remove Hizbollah missiles from border area.

* Evacuation continues, 1,000 Canadians taken to Cyprus -- among more than 30,000 foreigners to reach the island. 1,800 Americans due later in the day. Turkey also takes evacuees.

* U.N. considering sending envoys to Syria and Iran to try to end fighting, Western diplomats say.
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