Lebanese Civilian Deaths Rise, Arab Foreign Ministers Plan Emergency Meeting while European Stocks Fall

The Israeli army has warned Lebanon to evacuate all residents from a southern Beirut neighborhood where it believes Hizbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah lives, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

The United States, reacting to escalating violence between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, on Thursday urged restraint on both sides but said Israel had a right to defend itself. “We are urging restraint on both sides, recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” a U.S. administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Death tolls from dawn air strikes in Lebanon are now estimated at least 47 civilians and wound over 100 people. Lebanese officials say that a family of 10 and another family of seven were killed in their homes in the village of Dweir, the officials said.

Israeli fighter-bombers continued their assault on Lebanon striking a Shiite Muslim prayer house in a village in the eastern Bekaa valley of Lebanon today. While Hizbollah continued its military escalation for Israeli “massacres” by firing 60 Katyusha rockets at Nahariya in northern Israel killing one.
Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz vowed Thursday that Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas would be prevented from returning to their strongholds on the border with Israel following the abduction of two soldiers.

In response to the growing Israeli initiated crisis Arab foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting in Cairo Saturday to discuss the latest deadly escalation between Israel and Lebanon and the Palestinians.

The meeting “will examine the serious situation in Lebanon and in Palestine, as well as the aggressions and threats made by Israel against them,” the pan-Arab body said in a statement.

While financial impacts of Israel’s assault on Lebanon continued to grow with European stock markets falling heavily on Thursday as investors worried over international tensions and the rise of oil prices after Israel bombarded Lebanon in a new twist to the Middle East conflict, they added.


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