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Link: Israel Suspends Bombing For 48 Hours


TACTICS: Israel Suspending Lebanon Air Raids After Dozens Die

Published: July 31, 2006

Link: Israel Suspends Bombing For 48 Hours

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JERUSALEM, Monday, July 31 — Israel agreed to suspend air attacks in southern Lebanon for 48 hours after one of its raids on the southern town of Qana left dozens of civilians, many of them children, dead on Sunday, the bloodiest day of the conflict so far.

Israel said the Qana raid was aimed at Hezbollah fighters firing rockets into Israel from the area, but the strike collapsed a residential apartment building, crushing Lebanese civilians who were taking shelter for the night in the basement.

There were different accounts of the death toll. Residents said as many as 60 people had been inside. News agencies reported that 56 had been killed, and that 34 of them were children. The Lebanese Red Cross, which conducted the rescue, counted 27 bodies, as many of 17 of them children. The youngest of the dead was 10 months old, and the oldest was 95. One was in a wheelchair.

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NEWS ANALYIS: From Carnage in Lebanon, a Concession

Published: July 31, 2006

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JERUSALEM, Monday, July 31 — Taken aback by the carnage from the Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrung the first significant concession from Israel late on Sunday in its nearly three-week-old war against the Hezbollah militia: an immediate 48-hour suspension of aerial strikes.

Especially notable about the suspension was that Ms. Rice’s deputy, Adam Ereli, and not the Israelis, announced it after she held intensive talks with both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni.

The American decision to break the news on what was essentially an Israeli tactical change reflected the increased concern in the Bush administration about the rising civilian death toll in Lebanon and the havoc it is wreaking with America’s already shaky relations with the Arab world.

Indeed, while Mr. Ereli took pains to assure reporters that American officials had confirmation of the temporary suspension directly from Mr. Olmert’s office, Israeli officials had said nothing publicly about the suspension as of early Monday.

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