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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Here are developments on the 21st day of the Middle East crisis.

* Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he sees the beginning of a process that would lead to a cease-fire in Lebanon. He also says Hizbollah guerrillas could never threaten the Jewish state again.

* Israeli troops cross into new area of south Lebanon and pound towns and villages in two other areas

* Troops meet fierce resistance from Hizbollah guerrillas. Al Arabiya TV says three Israeli soldiers killed.

* EU calls for immediate halt to hostilities to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire, watering down demands for immediate cease-fire at insistence of Britain and other U.S. allies.

* Israel warns some residents north of Lebanon's Litani River to leave area, reversing earlier denial it had done so.

* Israel says it will resume full airstrikes from 1 a.m. Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday) after 48-hour partial suspension.

* Israeli infrastructure minister says army needs up to two weeks to complete its objectives.

* U.N. and Red Cross say forced to delay dispatch of aid to southern Lebanon because failed to get security guarantees.

* Israel's tourism minister says up to 400 Hizbollah guerrillas have been killed. Hizbollah says 43 fighters killed.

* Israeli cabinet minister says Israel's armed forces are not capable of destroying all of Hizbollah's missile capabilities.

* U.N. postpones discussion on mobilizing international force for Lebanon to at least Thursday.

* At least 617 people have been killed in Lebanon, although the health minister puts toll at 750 including bodies still buried under rubble. Fifty-one Israelis have been killed.

* Syria agrees to supply Lebanon with petrol from its strategic reserves to compensate for shortages.

* British Prime Minister Tony Blair is calling for the West to rethink its strategy for defeating extremism in the Middle East, once the Israel-Lebanon crisis is resolved.
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