New UN peace bid as Israelis close in on Beirut
August 11, 2006 Edition 4
Ibl el-Saqi, Lebanon - A UN ceasefire resolution which the US and France have been trying to work out for an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon may be put to the vote today.
Since the war started, Israel has gained strategic high ground in south Lebanon and is moving ever closer to Beirut.
According to security officials, Israeli jets attacked the Abboudiyeh border crossing into Syria, killing at least 11 people and wounding 11 others early today.
A bridge was also hit in Akkar province, 96km north of Beirut. There was no immediate word of casualties, and an Israeli soldier was killed by anti-tank rockets in south Lebanon last night.
UN peacekeepers were dispatched today to evacuate about 350 Lebanese soldiers and police detained by Israeli forces in Marjayoun, a day after Israeli soldiers swept into the southern Lebanese.
An Israeli soldier was killed and two were wounded in fierce battles with Hezbollah guerrillas yesterday, a day after the Israeli military suffered its worst one-day loss, with 15 soldiers killed.
Lebanese interior minister, Ahmed Fatfat, said Lebanese soldiers and police had been taken into custody, but an Israel military spokeswoman said that they were only advising them to remain there for their own safety.
Diplomatic efforts had stalled as Lebanon and Israel could not agree on terms. However, key players in the peace process believe that the new proposal will be of positive significance.
Broadly speaking, the US-French draft Security Council resolution called for a cessation of hostilities and for the Israeli army to begin withdrawing as the Lebanese start deploying troops in the south.
More than 800 people (726 in Lebanon and 122 in Israel) have died since fighting erupted.
UN humanitarian official Jan Egeland said it was "disgusting" the way a plan for aid delivery was being hindered by Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah. - Sapa-AP