Lebanon Damage 'Holding Up' Aid

Aid agencies in Lebanon say the severe damage to roads and bridges by Israeli air strikes is having a drastic effect on distribution of badly needed aid.

Lebanon Damage 'Holding Up' Aid

Goods can only be transported in small trucks for fears that larger vehicles will be targeted, they say. More than 900 Lebanese have now been killed, says Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora. Israeli aircraft have resumed attacks on Beirut after a lull of several days, while Hezbollah has continued firing rockets into Israel, killing five. Two Israeli soldiers also died fighting Hezbollah militants along the border.

A United Nations resolution calling for a truce appears near to completion. Diplomats at the United Nations say the UK, France and the US are close to agreeing on wording calling for an immediate end to the fighting. The three countries are hoping to present the first part of a two-stage peace plan to the other 12 members of the UN Security Council later on Thursday. The BBC's James Robbins, at UN headquarters in New York, says a second resolution would be proposed at a later stage, focusing on a long-term settlement, including authorisation for an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

The BBC's world affairs correspondent Frank Gardner says that since such a force could take weeks or months to arrive, there are reports that a smaller, more rapidly deployed force of French soldiers may be sent in first. 

  • An Israeli military report into the deaths of at least 41 civilians in Qana said the attack would not have been launched if civilians had been known to be there

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference meeting, said the answer to the crisis was the elimination of Israel

  • King Abdullah of Jordan publicly criticised the US and Israel over the fighting in Lebanon

As fighting continues in Lebanon, aid workers are warning of worsening conditions among refugees in the southern border region. The agencies told a news conference in Beirut that damage to the main roads meant that aid convoys had to take the more perilous mountain route to the south. "Roads into these towns are demolished, they're bombed, bridges are destroyed. They've got no way of getting out. It's increasingly difficult to get in. They're trapped, and the situation is just terrible," Jamsheed Din from the British charity Islamic Relief told the BBC.

The agencies say they are also using small vehicles for fear that larger ones will be hit by Israeli aircraft searching for Hezbollah fighters. In a video message to Muslim leaders meeting in Malaysia, Lebanon's prime minister said more than 3,000 people had been wounded, and that one million people - a quarter of the country's population - had been displaced. The latest Israeli casualties bring its death toll to 62, including 24 civilians.

The Israeli air force said it carried out 70 raids on Lebanon overnight. Four large explosions hit the southern Beirut suburb of Dahieh, a Hezbollah stronghold, early in the morning as Israeli war planes attacked the area for the first time in more than a week. Dahieh was heavily bombed earlier in the Israeli campaign. Three members of the same family were killed when an Israeli missile hit their home in a southern village of Taibe, Lebanese security officials said.

There were also air strikes in the southern town of Nabatiyeh, on a bridge in the northern region of Akkar and roads near the border with Syria, and in the Bekaa Valley. In southern Lebanon the fighting rages on in at least five areas along the border where Israel has launched ground incursions with more than 10,000 ground troops. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said there will be no ceasefire until an international force is deployed in southern Lebanon. Mr Olmert has said that about 15,000 foreign troops would be needed for such a UN peacekeeping force and that their arrival in the area had to overlap with Israel's withdrawal from Lebanese territory. The Israeli campaign began three weeks ago after Hezbollah militants captured two Israeli soldiers.

Source: BBC

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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