Preparing for Sabbath

August 4, 2006

In News

– Israeli air strikes on two villagesin south Lebanon on Friday flattened two houses, and 57people were reported buried in the rubble, securityofficials and the state news agency reported. The number ofdead was not immediately known.

The warplanes hit Taibeh, about 5 kilometers (3 miles)from the border, destroying a house where 7 peoplehad taken refuge.

The second attack flattened a building in Aita al-Shaab, 2

kilometers (1 mile) inside Lebanon. Fifty people were

reported covered in the rubble there.

– Israeli air strikes killed at least 40 civilians in east Lebanon and Beirut suburbs on Friday:

– One air strike hit a farm near Qaa, close to the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley where workers, mostly Syrian Kurds,

were loading plums and peaches on to trucks, local officials

said. They said 33 people were killed and 20 wounded.

– Israeli aircraft destroyed four bridges on the main coastal

highway north of Beirut, disrupting efforts to aid civilians

displaced or trapped by the conflict in Lebanon, and cuting off the coastal highway to Syria, which the United Nations called its “umbilical cord” for aid to Lebanon.

“The whole road is gone,” said Astrid van Genderen Stort of

the U.N. refugee agency. “It’s really a major setback because we

used this highway to move staff and supplies into the country.”

The European Commission said Israeli bombing of routes north

of Beirut had made it harder to deliver humanitarian aid.

“We will need guarantees for the safety of our people on the

ground if we are to successfully continue the provision of aid,”

said European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel.

– The U.N. World Food Programme called off planned convoys to the southern port city of Tyre after air raids on a Beirut

suburb prevented drivers from reaching the assembly point.

-The International Organization for Migration said the

destroyed road meant more than 700 Filipinos and Sri

Lankans who were supposed to be evacuated to Syria were now

stuck in Lebanon.

IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said the bombed highway was the main route for getting refugees out of Lebanon, and

noted that evacuations by sea are much more difficult. It

was unclear whether a second road along the coast could be

used, she said.

– In further developments Friday, U.N. aid organizations

will help the Lebanese government begin a mass immunization

campaign to prevent an outbreak of potentially fatal

measles among refugee children, officials said.

Also, live from Israeli war planes :

– Israel has also launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip.

– Israel killed three Palestinians in the Strip on Friday amid

air strikes that also wounded four people.

– At least 164 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians,

have been killed since Israel’s Gaza offensive began on June 28.