"France condemns this unjustified action which demonstrates more than ever the need for an immediate ceasefire without which there will only be other such incidents," President Jacques Chirac said in a statement carried by Reuters.
His Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy criticized the United States for refusing to demand an immediate end to the fighting, citing "deep differences" between the two countries over how to solve the conflict.
"You can't deplore the humanitarian situation and at the same time not push clearly for a ceasefire," he insisted.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday it was time to "get to a ceasefire" in Lebanon but declined to call for an "immediate" halt to hostilities.
"Any ceasefire has to have circumstances that are going to be acceptable to the parties," Rice insisted.
With the bodies of slain children and women being dug out from under the rubble Lebanon told Rice, currently visiting Israel, she would be unwelcome without an immediate ceasefire.
The US has faced mounting criticism across the world for not calling for an immediate ceasefire.
An Israeli strike killed at least 54 civilians, including 37 children, in Qana, police sources told Reuters. Rescuers expect the death toll to rise.
The strike was less than a kilometer from the mass grave of more than 105 Lebanese civilians killed in Qana in 1996 by Israel's shelling of a UN base.
The European Commission said the Israeli air strike was "horrific".
"The Commission has repeatedly requested that both parties come to a ceasefire as soon as possible and that under all circumstances both parties should stick to humanitarian norms and international law," said spokeswoman Katharina Von Schnurbein.
Pope Benedict XVI also called for an immediate ceasefire to pave the way "through dialogue" for a stable and lasting cohabitation.
"In the name of God I am calling on all those responsible for this spiral of violence so that arms will be laid down immediately on all sides," he said before celebrating Sunday mass from his holiday retreat.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's representative Geir Pedersen said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" by the killing of tens of Lebanese civilians in Qana.
"This tragic event demonstrates the urgency for all parties to heed the United Nations repeated calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities."
Pedersen said civilians have been paying the heaviest price for this war and reiterates calls to all parties to respect international humanitarian laws.
"We call for an immediate investigation of this incident," he said.
Earlier in the day, angry Lebanese protestors attacked and broke into the UN headquarters in downtown Beirut.
UN staff in the building sought refuge in an underground basement, an employee told AFP.
Iran said the raid was the outcome of Rice's visit to the region.
"The result of Rice's trip to the region is the Qana massacre," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
"Zionist regime officials as well as some US statesmen should be put on trial for the crimes they commit," he added.
"It's absolutely dreadful, it's quite appalling," said Beckett.
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett called the Israeli attack "quite appalling".
"It's absolutely dreadful, it's quite appalling ... Undoubtedly today's events will make things worse at least in the short term," she told Sky News.
"We have repeatedly urged Israel to act proportionately," said the top diplomat.
"When violence continues there is so much more chance of this kind of dreadful thing happening."
Beckett said the international community now had to see whether it could pick up the pieces and agree on a United Nations resolution that had been "well on track to being successful by Monday or Tuesday".
Israeli Education Minister Yuli Tamir regretted the air strike.
"I deeply regret what happened in Kafr Qana," she told reporters. "Every harm inflicted on children, women and civilians is very, very saddening, and I deeply regret it."
The Lebanese Health Ministry said on Sunday that at least 750 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Israeli war against Lebanon.
Jordan's King Abdullah, who was alongside Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Arabia critical of Hizbullah, dismissed the Israeli air strike as an "ugly crime" and urged an immediate ceasefire to end Israel's military offensive.
"This criminal aggression is an ugly crime that has been committed by the Israeli forces in the city of Qana that is a gross violation of all international statutes," the monarch said in the first reaction by an Arab leader to the raid.
"We call for an immediate ceasefire and the international community must shoulder its responsibility to find a way out of this crisis to put an end to the Israeli aggression on Lebanese territory and end the suffering of the Lebanese people," he added.
Mubarak was quick to condemn the "irresponsible" attack.
"Egypt is highly disturbed and condemns the irresponsible Israeli attack on the Lebanese village of Qana which led to the loss of innocent victims, most of which were women and children," a statement from the presidency said.
Egypt stressed "the need for a serious international effort to issue an urgent Security Council resolution to stop military attacks immediately."
The Qana massacre triggered retaliation vows from not only Hizbullah but also Palestinian resistance groups.
"This horrible massacre, like the others, will not remain unpunished," the Lebanese resistance movement, which inflicted heavy losses on Israel during the current war, said in a statement carried by AFP.
"The Israeli enemy will assume the consequences of its massacres in Qana and elsewhere, as the Islamic Resistance has promised," it vowed.
Hamas also warned Sunday that "all options were open" against Israel after its grisly raid.
The Qana raid "has crossed all red lines," Mushir Al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, told AFP.
"We confirm that all options are open for the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance to respond to this terrorist crime."
Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, claimed in a statement firing two rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot, just north of the Gaza border.
"The firing is in response for the continuing crimes against Palestinian and Lebanese people, including the ones in Qana."
Source: IslamOnline.netLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16