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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

July 29 (Reuters) - Here are developments in the Middle East on the 19th day of Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

* U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds talks in Israel to seek a deal on an international force to end fighting in Lebanon.

* Rice says she hoped for agreement on conditions for a cease-fire to be outlined in a U.N. resolution that could be tabled as early as Tuesday

* U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called a meeting in New York Monday to get troop contributions for an international force, which could be 15,000-20,000 strong.

* British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he sees agreement on peacekeepers in days, clearing the way for a cease-fire.

* Israel says it will not demand the immediate disarming of Hizbollah as part of a deal to end the fighting in Lebanon.

* Hizbollah leader says Rice aims to impose conditions on Lebanon and to serve Israeli interests during her visit.

* Hizbollah fires more than 90 rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, lightly wounding about a dozen people.

* An Israeli air strike on a house in Lebanon kills a woman and six children. Another strike hits Lebanon's main road to Damascus near the Syria border, cutting the highway in both directions.

* At least 483 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Lebanon in the conflict, and 51 Israelis have died.

* Israeli forces pull out of the Lebanese border town of Bint Jbeil but may return and were still operating in surrounding areas.

* Two Indian soldiers with the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon are wounded and their observation post damaged by an Israeli air strike.

* Israel rejects U.N. call for 72-hour pause in fighting to evacuate people from south Lebanon and send in emergency aid, says it has opened humanitarian corridor.

* U.S. President George W. Bush, in his weekly radio address, says Lebanon "is the latest flashpoint in a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding across the region."

* An Israeli undercover unit kills two Palestinians militants, including a senior Islamic Jihad militant, in the West Bank.

* Israeli aircraft bomb the homes of two Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, wounding two people.

* At least 150 Palestinians, around half of them gunmen, have been killed in Israel's month-long assault on Gaza.
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