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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Latest developments in the Middle East

Aug 9 (Reuters) - Here are developments on the 29th day of the Middle East crisis.

* Israeli troops thrust deeper into Lebanon and four soldiers are reported killed by Hizbollah rockets as Israel's inner cabinet debates whether to order a bigger advance before any U.N. move to end the war.

* At least 1,005 Lebanese and 101 Israelis have been killed in four weeks of bloodshed.

* U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch holds talks with Lebanese leaders in Beirut as part of efforts to persuade Lebanon and Israel to agree on the terms of a U.N. resolution.

* Hizbollah says its guerrillas have inflicted casualties on Israeli soldiers and hit three tanks in battles in southern Lebanon.

* Vote on U.N. resolution to end war, triggered by Hizbollah's seizure of two soldiers in July 12 cross-border raid, may not happen before Thursday because of wrangling.

* An Arab League delegation warns Lebanon could erupt in civil war if Beirut's terms are not met. Lebanon demands immediate ceasefire and quick withdrawal of thousands of Israeli troops from its south.

* Israel, planning to pull out only when foreign force and Lebanese army take over to keep Hizbollah at bay, has vowed in absence of agreement to expand offensive in south Lebanon to curb Hizbollah's rocket attacks on Jewish state.

* Israeli air strikes kill one person at position of Palestinian armed Fatah movement in Ein el Hilwa refugee camp near southern city of Sidon, hospital sources say.

* Israeli air raid on Lebanese town of Mashghara kills at least five people, medical sources say.

* Humanitarian efforts in southern Lebanon stalled for a second successive day.

* Israeli helicopter strike kills two Islamic Jihad militants in the West Bank, a Palestinian security official says.

* Faced with strong Arab objections, France and the United States are revising their draft resolution.

* Under discussion is when and what kind of international force would go in to support Lebanese army, which U.S. officials believe is not strong enough to subdue Hizbollah.
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