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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

Aug 2, (Reuters) - Here are developments on the 22nd day of the Middle East crisis.

* Israeli air strikes in support of helicopter raid in Hizbollah stronghold of Baalbek in northeastern Lebanon kills 19 people, including four children.

* Hizbollah guerrillas fire at least 206 rockets into Israel, its most intense one-day barrage of the conflict. One person killed, 123 treated for various injuries.

* One round strikes occupied West Bank, the farthest target Hizbollah rockets have reached from Lebanon since fighting began July 12.

* Olmert says Israel will keep fighting Hizbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon until a strong international force is deployed.

* Israel says airborne commandos snatch five Hizbollah members from guerrilla stronghold of Baalbek deep inside Lebanon, take them to Israel.

* Israeli bombardment has so far inflicted $2 billion of damage on Lebanon's infrastructure, Lebanese minister says.

* Israeli army says three Israeli soldiers die in fighting.

* Saudi Arabia criticizes U.S. policy over Lebanon.

* U.N. cancel for second time this week a planned meeting of governments considering offering troops to an international force to be deployed in southern Lebanon.

* U.S. rebukes the No. 2 U.N. official for what it sees as a pattern of outspoken comments after an interview in which he says Washington has made recruitment for an international force in Lebanon difficult.

* Convoys of food, medical and other aid head to hard-hit areas of Lebanon, having secured safe passage from Israel after days of delays.

* At least 643 people in Lebanon and 55 Israelis have been killed. Lebanon's health minister puts toll at 762, including unrecovered bodies.

* At least 750,000 Lebanese, almost a quarter of the population, have been driven from their homes.
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