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Welcome to the Cedar's Revolution Website

The Cedar's Revolution stands for Horriyeh, Siyadeh, Istiqlal (Freedom, Sovereignty, Independence), and Haqiqa, Horriyeh, Wahdeh wataniyeh (Truth, Freedom, National unity) for all Lebanese, not based on race, color, creed, religion, national heritage, sex, age, or disability - Truely A Lebanon for ALL LEBANESE.


Rebuilding and Security in Focus
Sept 11, 2006 7:25 a.m. 

Updated regularly with news on the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon crisis. All times ET.


Monday, Sept. 11

3:10 a.m.: Blair arrived in Beirut to meet with his Lebanese counterpart, hoping to ease the anger caused by a month of bloody fighting.

2:34 a.m.: Ignoring Iran's threats to destroy Israel, especially when it appears to be intent on developing nuclear weapons, could prove to be a historic mistake, Blair was quoted as saying in an interview published Monday.

Sunday, Sept. 10

1:35 p.m.: The ruling Hamas militant group rejected calls by Blair to moderate its violently anti-Israel ideology. During a trip to the West Bank, Blair said the international community should restore contacts with the Palestinian government if Hamas forms a unity government that accepts Western demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

1:10 p.m.: Prodded by visiting Blair, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders said they are ready to resume contacts unconditionally -- a small step that could lead toward resumption of peace talks.

12:15 p.m.: Siniora briefed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the latest developments in Lebanon and received assurances from the Saudi monarch of his country's support for Lebanon, Saudi officials said. Siniora, on his first trip outside Lebanon since the end of Israel-Hezbollah fighting, met with Abdullah in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah and discussed the economic impact on Lebanon of the 34-day war, the officials said.

12 p.m.: The plan to deploy unarmed EU staff to help Syrian troops monitor the Lebanon border will build confidence and transparency in a volatile region, Italy's premier, Romano Prodi, said. He and Syrian President Bashar Assad have agreed on "a European Union joint effort to aid and to train Syrian troops controlling the border between Lebanon and Syria."

9:05 a.m.: Jordan and Egypt urged the Palestinians and Israelis to resume peace talks as soon as possible and said efforts to form a new unity government between the militant Hamas group and more moderate factions were critical. President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II -- key U.S. allies in the Mideast and Israel's only Arab peace partners, said "reviving the Palestinian-Israeli peace process" was a top priority.

7:20 a.m.: Polish President Lech Kaczynski was leaving on a four-day trip to Israel for talks on the current tension in the Middle East, an official said. Kaczynski planned to meet with Israeli counterpart Moshe Katsav and Olmert. The meetings would focus on strengthening Israeli-Polish ties, as well as the tense situation in the region.

7 a.m.: Blair said the world should restore contacts with the Palestinians if the ruling Hamas group agrees to form a unity government that renounces violence and recognizes Israel. A Hamas spokesman, however, swiftly rejected those conditions.

6:15 a.m.: Palestinian President Abbas said he was ready to meet unconditionally with Israel's prime minister, possibly paving the way for a resumption of long-stalled peace talks.

Saturday, Sept. 9

5 p.m.: Italy's prime minister said that Syrian President Bashar Assad has agreed to the deployment of European Union personnel along Lebanon's border with Syria. Syria's official news agency denied news reports that the EU personnel under discussion would be border guards.

4:15 p.m.: Olmert said he would meet Palestinian President Abbas and work closely with him to advance peace efforts. Olmert, who spoke after meeting with visiting British Prime Blair, did not say when he would meet Abbas.

Friday, Sept. 8

4:30 p.m.: Israeli troops seized six people, including a policeman, in two Lebanese villages on the border with Israel, Lebanese security officials said.

2 p.m.: Spanish navy ships carrying more than 500 troops set sail for Lebanon to join the expanded U.N. force. The ships left from the southern port city of Rota, transporting about half of Spain's planned contingent for the U.N. force. They are to arrive in about four to five days.

12:45 p.m.: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was premature to talk of negotiations for the release of two Israeli soldiers snatched by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, but Germany would be prepared to help in mediation if asked.

8:10 a.m.: The commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon says Israel has lifted its sea blockade of Lebanon.

3:15 a.m.: Israel hopes to withdraw the last of its soldiers from Lebanon within two weeks, security officials say. The U.N., which brokered the Aug. 14 truce that ended a month of fighting between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, has been pressuring Israel to pull out all of its soldiers as international and Lebanese forces deploy.


2:50 a.m.: Olmert has signaled that Israel might cede disputed territory to Lebanon if the Lebanese carry out all provisions of their recent cease-fire with Israel, including the disarming of Hezbollah guerrillas, news media reported. When Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation, the U.N.-drawn international line didn't put Chebaa Farms in Lebanese territory, but in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, and later annexed. The Lebanese have disputed this ruling, and Israel and Hezbollah have clashed in the territory since the withdrawal.

Thursday, Sept. 7


8:10 p.m.: The Spanish Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to send 1,100 troops to Lebanon, giving the green light to what the government called a risky but vital mission to achieve lasting Middle East peace. The approval by the Chamber of Deputies makes Spain the third-largest contributor to the expanded U.N. Force.

7:20 p.m.: The chief of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees called on the international community to provide Gaza with a peacekeeping force or mission of observers, saying Gaza's 1.4 million people deserve protection. Karen AbuZayd, the commissioner general for U.N. Relief and Works Agency, said a permanent solution must be found for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, perhaps by setting up a U.N. mission there.


6:25 p.m.: Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema called for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians as the only way to end their spiraling violence. D'Alema made the comments after talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib in Amman before heading to Ramallah for a meeting with Abbas. He was then to head to Israel in his two-day Mideast tour.

6:20 p.m.: Russia's foreign minister said it will be impossible to find a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict without involving Syria in the efforts. Sergey Lavrov, who is on a Middle East tour, made the comments at Damascus airport upon arrival from neighboring Lebanon.

5:35 p.m.: Three Palestinians were killed when Israeli troops raided a West Bank town in search of a wanted militant, Palestinian hospital officials said. The wanted man, Rashid Zakarna, exchanged fire with troops before he was shot and killed in the northern town of Qabatiya, the hospital officials said. Witnesses said dozens of troops surrounded the building where the militants had holed up before the shootout erupted.


5:20 p.m.: Olmert said he hopes international naval forces arrive quickly to allow Israel to lift its blockade of Lebanon. "We decided today in coordination with the commander of the U.N. troops in the Middle East ... not to lift the naval blockade in Lebanon at this stage until the naval forces that are slated to continue this closure in our place arrive," Olmert said in a statement issued by his office.

2 p.m.: Egypt is still trying to mediate a prisoner swap to bring the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in return for the freeing of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Egypt Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said a deal might only be "days or hours away," but he acknowledged Thursday there was still no deal.

11:30 a.m.: An Israeli official said the aerial blockade of Lebanon has been lifted, but a naval blockade will continue until the international forces arrive.

11:10 a.m: Israel began lifting its blockade of Lebanon, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev, but he declined to say how long the pullback would take.

9 a.m.: A U.N. peacekeeping force for Lebanon should be strong enough by mid-September for Israeli troops to withdraw, Annan said. The U.N. force is expected to have 5,000 international peacekeepers along with 16,000 Lebanese troops sent to the south of the country.


4:20 a.m.: France's foreign minister said France had agreed to a request from Annan to monitor sea lanes off Lebanon to ensure that weapons don't reach Hezbollah. Philippe Douste-Blazy made the comments at a news conference two days after Chirac gave his tentative support for the request.


3 a.m.: Spain's Parliament was expected to approve sending up to 1,100 troops to Lebanon, rejecting conservative criticism the prime minister is a hypocrite for pulling soldiers out of Iraq in 2004 and now making them available for another Middle East war zone.

Wednesday, Sept. 6

[United Nations]

8:10 p.m.: An advance team of French peacekeepers wove around rubble and minefields as it made its way through destroyed villages on one of its first reconnaissance missions in southern Lebanon. The patrol -- seven men in a jeep and an armored vehicle freshly painted white with U.N. letters on the side -- kept a wide berth from Israeli tanks positioned in the hilltops.

5:55 p.m.: British Mediterranean Airways resumed commercial passenger flights to Beirut, becoming the first Western carrier to break Israel's air blockade of Lebanon.


4:05 p.m.: Germany's defense minister welcomed Israel's announcement that it would lift its blockade of Lebanon, but reiterated Berlin's need for a request from the Lebanese government before naval troops could be sent to the region.

2:30 p.m.: Four U.N. experts will visit Israel and Lebanon to investigate alleged human rights violations committed during the war, the United Nations said. The rights experts will conduct their fact-finding mission from Sept. 7-13 and meet with government officials and independent groups in both countries.

[Kofi Annan]

11:45 a.m: Annan said a national consensus in Lebanon was needed to disarm Hezbollah militants, rather than using force, which would "compound the problem."

11:30 a.m.: Israel said it will lift its sea blockade of Lebanon on Thursday evening. Earlier, a Lebanese official said a deal was being worked out under which Israel would end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon in return for the Lebanese government requesting French and other international forces to monitor its coastline.


11 a.m.: France's Chirac gave tentative support to a U.N. request that French navy vessels patrol the Mediterranean to thwart any secret weapons shipments to Hezbollah. France already has two frigates, the Cassard and the Montcalm, and the transport ship, the Siroco, in the eastern Mediterranean.

10 a.m.: Olmert faces a new setback after two of his handpicked appointees were disqualified from a panel investigating Israel's conduct of the conflict. Olmert said he would quickly replace them. Last week, the prime minister rebuffed calls to set up an independent review board with the authority to dismiss government and military officials, and instead appointed his own investigative team.

9:30 a.m.: Casualty update. A total of 120 Israeli soldiers and 39 civilians were killed in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, as were at least 854 Lebanese, most of them civilians.

[Kofi Annan]

2:15 a.m.: Turkish leaders prepared to meet with Annan after Parliament authorized the participation of Turkish soldiers in an expanded U.N. peace mission in Lebanon. The decision makes Turkey the first Muslim country with diplomatic ties with Israel to send troops to Lebanon and is likely to enhance the Muslim presence in the task force.

Tuesday, Sept. 5

8:10 p.m.: Three Hamas militants were killed in Israeli airstrikes on two cars in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza, witnesses and the military said. In the first blast, hospital officials said one person was killed and 12 wounded. Two people were killed in the second blast nearby.


5:30 p.m.: France is considering sending troops to patrol the Lebanese coast in response to an appeal by Annan, French officials said. Annan was hoping the French involvement would help block Hezbollah arms shipments to Lebanon and persuade Israel to lift the nearly two-month-old blockade, Le Monde said.

3 p.m.: Turkey agreed to send troops to Lebanon to monitor a tense cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, becoming the first Muslim country with diplomatic ties with Israel to do so. The decision was an important boost to efforts to deploy an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force amid hopes that strong Muslim participation would avoid any impression that the force is primarily a Christian entity.

11 a.m.: New AP video posted. Annan explains the ongoing efforts to gain the release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers and Lebanese prisoners, saying the war in Lebanon has been a "wake-up call for many leaders around the world."

[Israel - Hezbollah]

8:45 a.m.: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in published comments that he doesn't regret the capture last month of two Israeli soldiers, an event that sparked the monthlong Israeli offensive.

6:05 a.m.: A remote-controlled bomb wounded a senior police intelligence officer and killed four aides and bodyguards in south Lebanon. Lt. Col. Samir Shehade, who played a role in investigating the slaying of a former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, was in stable condition at a hospital in Sidon.

[Kofi Annan]

5:55 a.m.: Annan said that he expected good news about Israel's lifting its blockade of Lebanon within the next 48 hours. The U.N. secretary-general spoke after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

4:15 a.m.: Turkish lawmakers were set to vote on sending troops to Lebanon as part of an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force, with the government strongly supporting deployment, but Turkish public opinion divided.

1 a.m.: A Palestinian stabbed and seriously injured an Israeli north of Jerusalem, Israeli police and rescue workers said. The motivation for the attack at the Atarot industrial zone wasn't immediately clear. The man was seriously injured and evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital.

12:50 a.m.: An Israeli minister said that the government hasn't completely abandoned a plan to withdraw from large areas of the West Bank. "The plan is not dead, it's been postponed," Interior Minister Roni Bar-On told Israel Radio. "It's not a priority right now. ... The plan has been put on the shelf."

[United Nations]

12:40 a.m.: The United Nations has shown great interest in Malaysia's offer to contribute troops to a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon and a decision is likely to be made soon, Malaysia's foreign minister said.

Monday, Sept. 4

5:50 p.m.: The Lebanese government decided to protest to the U.N. Security Council over Israel's blockade of the country and call on it to force Israel to lift the siege.

2:35 p.m.: Annan said he would appoint a mediator for indirect talks between Israel and Hezbollah on the release of two abducted Israeli soldiers, the first public word of negotiations between the bitter enemies since fighting in Lebanon ended.

2:05 p.m.: Egypt is pressing ahead with efforts to swap Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants for the past two months, the Egyptian foreign minister said.

[Kofi Annan]

12:05 p.m.: Annan has agreed to mediate in efforts for the release of two abducted Israeli soldiers after requests from both Hezbollah and Israel, Annan's spokesman said.

9:30 a.m.: A ship carrying 200 French troops and 100 military vehicles took to sea for Lebanon to join the U.N. peacekeeping force, the first major French deployment in its expanded mission.

8:35 a.m.: A Qatar Airways plane landed at Beirut airport carrying 142 passengers, despite Israel's blockade on Lebanon. The Airbus 320 landed at Rafik Hariri International Airport in the first of what the national carrier of Qatar said would be daily flights from Doha to Beirut.


8:05 a.m.: Chirac urged a new meeting of the international "Quartet" of Middle East mediators after meeting with Palestinian envoy Ahmed Qureia. Qureia, a former prime minister, carried a letter from Abbas apparently seeking greater French support, Chirac's spokesman said.

7:45 a.m.: The 250 soldiers Finland plans to send to Lebanon will clear mines and help set up bases for the expanded U.N. peacekeeping force being deployed to protect a cease-fire, the government said.

7:40 a.m.: U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and called on them to show proof that two captured Israel soldiers are still alive. He said such a move could jump-start negotiations that might lead to the soldiers' release.

7:20 a.m.: Israel is increasingly concerned that government officials and army officers traveling abroad could face war crimes charges related to the country's actions in Lebanon, officials said. A Foreign Ministry official said a special legal team is preparing to provide protection for officers and officials involved in the 34-day conflict in Lebanon.

6:40 a.m.: Olmert said that Israel needs to restart talks with the Palestinians. "We have no more urgent problem than that of the Palestinians," Olmert told the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, according to a participant in the meeting.


6:15 a.m.: Olmert told lawmakers that Israel has sent a message to Syria ruling out negotiations with Damascus. At a meeting of parliament's influential foreign affairs and defense committee, Olmert attacked Syria, saying all those who employ violence against Israel go through Damascus, Army Radio said.

5:25 a.m.: Qatar announced that it would contribute 200 to 300 troops to the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, making the tiny Persian Gulf state the first Arab country to commit soldiers to the peace effort in Lebanon.

4:25 a.m.: Olmert denied reports of an impending deal to swap Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants for the past two months. "I read about it in the newspapers alone and know nothing of such a deal," participants in a meeting of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee quoted him as saying.

4:20 a.m.: The Israeli government said it was seeking bids for construction of 700 homes in the West Bank -- its largest settlement construction project since taking office in May. Ministry spokesman Kobi Bleich confirmed the project is the largest so far by the new government, which was elected on a platform calling for withdrawal from most Jewish settlements.

Sunday, Sept. 3

8:55 p.m.: Masked militants trying to keep students away from school during a politically charged Palestinian teachers' strike shot and wounded a 12-year-old boy. Palestinian teachers began striking Saturday, the start of the school year, to demand full back pay and regular salaries from the Hamas-led government, which has been financially crippled by six months of international sanctions.

6 p.m.: Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a house in the Jebaliya refugee camp next to Gaza City, destroying it, witnesses and security officials said. Five neighbors were wounded by the blasts, they said. The house belonged to an activist from the Fatah movement, and the Israelis warned him to leave the building before the attack, the officials said.

4:45 p.m.: Turkey's premier said Muslim countries had a historic duty to contribute troops for a peacekeeping force in Lebanon and said at least as many Islamic countries should send soldiers as European countries. "If 22 European countries are joining, at least as many Muslim countries need to join also," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

3:45 p.m.: Syrian President Assad has pledged to rebuild three southern Lebanese villages destroyed by Israeli bombardment during 34 days of Israel-Hezbollah fighting, state-run news agencies in Syria and Lebanon reported.


3 p.m.: Israel's state comptroller is recommending a criminal investigation of Olmert's appointments in a previous ministry, Israeli media reported . The comptroller, Micha Lindenstrous, issued a critical report about alleged irregularities in appointments in the Trade and Industry Ministry while Olmert was in charge before becoming prime minister earlier this year.

1:45 p.m.: Qatar Airways announced that it would resume flights to Beirut despite Israel's blockade on Lebanon. The national carrier of Qatar said in a statement that it received approval from Lebanese authorities to operate a daily flight from Doha to Beirut starting Monday.

12:30 p.m.: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ruled out peace talks between Israel and Syria for now, saying that a "sequence" must be followed, with an end to Syrian support of Lebanese and Palestinian extremists coming first.

9:30 a.m.: A mass teachers' strike that is part of a growing Palestinian power struggle erupted in violence when masked militants trying to keep students away from school shot and moderately wounded a 12-year-old boy trying to go to class.


7:30 a.m.: A German Cabinet session on the country's role in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Lebanon has been put off because Berlin hasn't yet received a request for troops. "Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora informed the German chancellor that because of internal Lebanese discussions, the necessary request had not yet been made of the U.N.," said Ulrich Wilhelm, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel. "It is clear: without such a request from Lebanon of the United Nations, German military involvement is not possible."

7 a.m.: The father of a soldier held captive by Gaza militants said there has been no progress in the intensive, back-channel efforts to free his son. "I am aware of contacts but not of advancement, and therefore I am not encouraged," Noam Shalit told Israel Radio. "The advancement is only in the newspapers."


5:30 a.m.: Olmert said he hoped to eventually reach a peace deal with Lebanon. "How natural, how understandable it would be for the prime minister of Lebanon to respond to the many calls I have made toward him and say, 'Come on, let's sit, shake hands, make peace and end once and for all the hostility, the jealousy, the hatred that some of my people have toward you,"' he said.

5 a.m.: Italian troops, trucks and armored personnel carriers landed in Tyre and Beirut, the first large contingent of international peacekeepers to arrive in Lebanon. U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Alexander Ivanko said more than 500 Italian soldiers had arrived and the remaining 500 were expected later in the day.

Saturday, Sept. 2

11:30 p.m.: Hezbollah announced the death of a military commander from wounds suffered in monthlong fighting with Israel, the highest-ranking guerrilla the group admits losing in the war. "The commander Hajj Ali Mohammed Saleh Bilal was martyred from wounds he sustained in the confrontations," the group said in a statement. Lebanese security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bilal was a sector military commander, but had no further details.


5 p.m.: Siniora ripped Israel for its continued blockade of the country. Speaking to a special parliament session, Lebanon's prime minister condemned the "unjust, illegal blockade" and said his government is sparing no effort to lift the siege.

3:35 p.m.: The Israeli army said it arrested two Palestinian militants in the West Bank who tried to produce homemade rockets with backing from Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. The army said the men, both residents of the West Bank town of Tulkarem, produced low-grade rockets, but attempts to fire them were unsuccessful. The arrests took place on Friday.

3:20 p.m.: An Israeli airstrike destroyed a home belonging to a Hamas militant in northern Gaza Strip, moderately wounding one bystander, Palestinian officials and witnesses said. The occupants of the home were ordered to leave about an hour before the airstrike. A man who was walking in the area at the time of the attack was wounded, medical officials said. The Israeli army said the airstrike targeted a weapons-storage facility.

3 p.m.: The Lebanese government won't involve itself directly in negotiations to release two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in July, the country's culture minister said. Tarek Mitri said his government disavowed the Hezbollah operation, but has chosen not to position itself as a broker in the negotiations.


1:30 p.m.: Annan met with Iranian leaders to press them to help cut off weapons shipments to Iran's Lebanese ally Hezbollah. Iran offered to help support the cease-fire in Lebanon.

9 a.m.: The PLO's Executive Committee accused Hamas of stalling in talks to form a national unity government, contradicting earlier claims that the sides were making progress. In a statement, endorsed by Abbas, the committee said four days of negotiations with Hamas did not produce any results. "The continuation of the current situation will lead to further deterioration and regional and international isolation for our people and national cause," the statement said.

8:30 a.m.: Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri urged Arab planes and ships to break Israel's air and sea blockade of Lebanon, describing it as a "military aggression."

3 a.m.: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak disclosed that negotiations are ongoing to secure the release of the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants, according to an interview published by the Al-Ahram newspaper. Israel is waiting for a Palestinian "initiative" that spells out Palestinian conditions for a prisoner exchange. Their demands could include the freeing of Palestinian prisoners who are women or minors, he said.

Friday, Sept. 1

3:50 p.m.: The EU said its foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, would tour the Middle East in an attempt to revive stalled peace efforts and rally support from Arab nations.

3:30 p.m.: Peretz said that he would support a sweeping, independent inquiry into Israel's war in Lebanon, a new sign of division in a government facing harsh public criticism for its handling of the conflict.


3:05 p.m.: Israel dropped its objections to Indonesia joining the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, and the two sides are discussing when Jakarta will send a promised 1,000 troops, a U.N. official said.

2:30 p.m.: Israel will seek to create a zone of economic cooperation along the Jordanian border, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said.

2 p.m.: Israel reacted with skepticism Friday to Syria's commitment to stop the flow of weapons to the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia. "Israel does not think that Syria during the last conflict -- both in helping Hezbollah by financing and arming them directly and the declarations during the conflict -- and in its aftermath, has shown any reason to be a reliable force," government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said. "Syria continues to be a safe haven for terrorism."

8:30 a.m.: World donors pledged $500 million in aid for Palestinians, including $55 million for a U.N. emergency appeal for humanitarian help, organizers said. A total of $114 million of the money pledged will go toward humanitarian aid, with the rest going to rebuilding infrastructure and other projects, said Carin Jamtin, Sweden's aid minister and host of the donors' conference held in the Swedish capital.

[Kofi Annan]

2:20 a.m.: Annan met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to seek the key Hezbollah backer's support for the implementation of a resolution that halted 34 days of fighting between Israel and the guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon. Annan was expected to press Syria to join international efforts to stop the flow of arms across its border to Hezbollah and urge Syrian authorities to do what they can to help win the release of the two Israeli soldiers.

Thursday, Aug. 31

11:05 p.m.: The Wall Street Journal's Peter Waldman reports. The Israel-Hezbollah war ended in a blow to Israel's military prestige. The Hezbollah militia, backed by Iran and Syria, lived to fight another day, though it must now contend with thousands of Lebanese government soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers arriving to patrol its southern Lebanon stronghold. Eyewitness accounts by Israel's citizen-soldiers of critical supply shortages, leadership failures and disarray on the battlefield help explain how an estimated 1,500 guerrillas could face down the most powerful military in the Middle East, and survive. More.

10:35 p.m.: Tens of thousands of Israelis thronged a central square in Tel Aviv, calling for the release of three Israeli soldiers being held by Arab militants in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The rally at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square comes exactly 50 days after Israeli reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah guerillas on July 12, sparking a 34-day war between Israel and the Hezbollah.

10:20 p.m.: Palestinian militants fired five homemade rockets into Israel, defying the latest calls by Abbas to halt the attacks. The Israeli army said four of the rockets landed near the southern border town of Sderot, while the fifth landed near the city of Ashkelon. There were no injuries, it said.

10:15 p.m.: The Israeli army has turned over a small border area in southern Lebanon to Lebanese and international troops, military officials said, a symbolic move meant to pave the way for a heavily armed U.N. peacekeeping force to move into the volatile area.

5:45 p.m.: Israeli police commandos stormed the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and captured a Palestinian man who had been holed up inside for eight hours, claiming to have a gun and demanding political asylum. There were no injuries. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the forces seized the man after he laid down his weapon for a split second to eat food they had given him. After the arrest, authorities discovered the weapon was plastic.

9:40 a.m.: Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres confirmed that Israeli forces will begin withdrawing from southern Lebanon once the U.N. peacekeeping force there reaches 5,000 units, Italian Premier Romano Prodi said after a meeting with Peres.

5:45 a.m.: Amnesty International called on the EU to ensure that alleged human rights violations in Lebanon and Israel are properly investigated. "Amnesty International's own recent findings point to war crimes having been committed on both sides. This must be addressed and this is the right time do to so," said spokesman Dick Oosting.


5:40 a.m.: Germany will likely contribute more than 1,200 service personnel to the U.N. peacekeeping force for Lebanon, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said in a newspaper interview. Germany is offering warships backed up by surveillance aircraft to prevent weapons being smuggled to Hezbollah guerrillas after their war with Israel.


4:20 a.m.: About 60 governments and aid organizations were meeting in Stockholm in the hopes of raising $500 million to help Lebanon rebuild roads, bridges and homes. In a report to the conference, the Lebanese government projected that early recovery efforts would cost about $540 million. "The war has had a devastating impact and hardship on the people of Lebanon and on the Lebanese social and economic fabric," the report said.

Wednesday, Aug. 30

11:45 p.m.: Israeli soldiers who had been conducting an operation to uncover tunnels and explosives began withdrawing from the outskirts of Gaza City, the army said. The troops, who first raided the Shajaiyeh neighborhood late Saturday, killed a total of 18 Palestinians, most of them militants, in airstrikes and gunbattles, Palestinian emergency officials said.


10:35 p.m.: Olmert said he hoped the cease-fire with Lebanon could lead to a permanent peace deal, but Lebanon's premier rebuffed the idea, saying his country would be the last Arab nation to make peace with the Jewish state.

6:45 p.m.: Israel rejected demands from Annan that it immediately lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon and withdraw its forces once 5,000 international troops are deployed. Olmert indicated Israel would only allow free movement after the full implementation of a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

4:47 p.m.: About 3,000 government employees marched through Ramallah to demand their salaries, and the civil servants' union that represents tens of thousands of teachers and health care workers has said it would launch an open-ended strike next week at the start of the school year. Meanwhile, Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians in Gaza in two air strikes and gunbattles on the outskirts of Gaza City, Palestinian witnesses and hospital doctors said.

3:15 p.m.: Children and adults are being killed and wounded in a mounting casualty toll from the massive amount of cluster bombs that Israel dropped across southern Lebanon in the final days of fighting with Hezbollah forces, U.N. and human rights organizations said. Thirteen people, including three children, had been killed between the Aug. 14 cease-fire and Tuesday, Chris Clark, program manager of the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center in southern Lebanon, told government delegations during a visit to Geneva. An additional 46 people have been wounded.


1 p.m.: A Hezbollah cabinet minister in Lebanon said the guerrilla group wouldn't release two captured Israeli soldiers unconditionally, and that they would only be freed in a prisoner exchange. "There should be an exchange through indirect negotiations. This is the principle to which Hezbollah and the resistance are adhering," Minister of Energy and Hydraulic Resources Mohammed Fneish said.

12:20 p.m.: Annan arrived in Jordan for talks on a cease-fire deal between Israel and the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group. The U.N. chief was scheduled to hold separate meetings Thursday with Jordan's ruler, King Abdullah II, and Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib.

12 p.m.: Israeli troops launched airstrikes on the outskirts of Gaza City and exchanged gunfire with Palestinian militants, killing eight people.

8:15 a.m.: Annan said Israel must lift its closure of the Gaza Strip and open crossing points there. The U.N. chief also called for an end to the bloodshed that has led to the deaths of more than 200 Palestinians since the end of June.

[Mahmoud Abbas]

7:30 a.m.: Abbas criticized Palestinian militants for continuing to fire rockets at Israeli border communities. "What is happening in Gaza as a result of rockets fired in vain must stop right now because there is no national interest in this continuing," the Palestinian president said.

6:40 a.m.: Siniora said his government would pay $33,000 per house to compensate residents whose homes were destroyed by Israeli attacks. He also said he refused to have any direct contact with Israel, and that Lebanon would be the last Arab country to ever sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

5:30 a.m.: Israeli warplanes flew over Beirut and parts of eastern and central Lebanon, a senior military official said. The official said the Lebanese army would issue a statement about the Israeli overflights later Wednesday. Since a U.N.-brokered cease-fire ended fighting between Israel and Hezbollah on Aug. 14, Israeli jets and drones have routinely flown over southern and eastern Lebanon, where Hezbollah has strongholds, apparently on reconnaissance flights.


3:05 a.m.: With Israel's prime minister standing by his side, Annan demanded that Israel immediately lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon, but failed to win Israel's consent. Annan also said he hoped Israel would withdraw all its forces from south Lebanon once the number of U.N. forces in Lebanon has doubled to 5,000, a number he said could be reached in "coming days and weeks."


2:45 a.m.: Olmert said he hopes the U.N. cease-fire deal will be the cornerstone of the start of new relations with Lebanon. Olmert spoke during a joint news conference with Annan who is touring the region to shore up the cease-fire deal.

2:15 a.m.: A top Palestinian militant leader in the West Bank died after he was shot in the head by Israeli troops last week, Palestinian health officials said. Hussam Jaradat, the West Bank leader of Islamic Jihad's militant wing, was shot by undercover Israeli soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp on Aug. 23, doctors said.

[Harris Poll]

12 a.m.: The Harris Poll. Three-quarters of Americans see Israel as a close ally or friend, while a nearly equal percentage views Iran as an enemy, according to a Harris Interactive poll. More.

Tuesday, Aug. 29

5:50 p.m.: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government is united with Syria in strong opposition to the U.S. government's "imperialistic" aggression in the Middle East. "We are here in Damascus to call for peace," Chavez told state television by phone shortly after arriving in Syria. "These two countries are strongly united against the imperialistic aggression and hegemonic pretensions of the U.S. empire."


5:35 p.m.: Americans are unsafe in the Gaza Strip, and those in the Palestinian area should leave immediately, the State Department said. Continuing or possible violence in Israel, it said, also makes it necessary for Americans to avoid locations associated with U.S. interests or official U.S. buildings, the State Department said in an updated travel warning.

4:45 p.m.: Some 300 unemployed Palestinian laborers surrounded the parliament building, demanding welfare payments, scuffling with police and waving empty plates in another challenge to the beleaguered Hamas government. Elsewhere in the city, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians -- at least one of them a militant – and wounded five others, including a 4-year-old boy. In the northern West Bank, troops killed two Palestinian militants in a firefight.

4:30 p.m.: Annan called Israel's air and sea blockade of Lebanon a "humiliation" and demanded it be lifted. But Israel said it first needed assurances that forces deployed on the border can stop weapons shipments to Hezbollah.


2:20 p.m.: Rev. Jesse Jackson said an Israeli soldier seized by Palestinian militants and two other Israeli soldiers held captive by Hezbollah are alive. Jackson also said Syria, a main backer of both Hamas and Hezbollah, wanted to be involved in a prisoner swap that included the three Israelis and Syrian nationals detained by Israel in the Golan Heights. He said he received the information in meetings in Damascus on Monday with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Khaled Mashaal, political leader of Hamas, which is linked to the kidnappers.

2 p.m.: Peretz said Israel hoped to end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon soon. Peretz, who spoke after meeting with Annan, didn't clarify what it would take for Israel to lift the embargo, but Israel has demanded that Lebanese and international forces take control of the Lebanon-Syrian border to prevent Hezbollah guerrillas from smuggling in arms.

1:20 p.m.: Israel's foreign minister said Hezbollah had been weakened by the monthlong fighting in Lebanon and blamed the group for the suffering of the Lebanese people. Tzipi Livni said Hezbollah was "in a losing process" following the fighting that ended Aug. 14, and that "time will tell who is the winner" of the 34-day conflict.

12:45 p.m.: EU diplomats urged Muslim nations to make substantial contributions to the U.N. peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon, saying Muslim participation is key to the mission.


10:50 a.m.: Organizers of an international donors' conference are aiming to raise $500 million in aid for Lebanon, Sweden's aid minister said. The money raised at Thursday's conference in Stockholm will go toward improving infrastructure and social services as Lebanon recovers from 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas, Aid Minister Carin Jamtin said.

8 a.m.: An Israeli military court extended the detention of the Palestinian finance minister for two more weeks, an aide said.

6:50 a.m.: WSJ's Jay Solomon reports: Indonesia is near agreement with the United Nations to send 1,000 peacekeepers to southern Lebanon as part of a larger international force aimed at policing the cease-fire between Israel and the Shiite militia, Hezbollah. More.


6:30 a.m.: Olmert jeered Nasrallah, saying the Hezbollah chief can't claim victory while still in hiding. "Someone who doesn't come out of his bunker is not a person who thinks that he's won," Olmert said.

4:40 a.m.: The Italian foreign minister said groups such as Lebanese guerrillas Hezbollah and Palestinian militants Hamas aren't purely terrorist organizations and efforts to bring them into the political fold should be encouraged.


4:20 a.m.: Annan visited U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon, a day after Italy and Turkey moved to join the international force there. The U.N. chief Annan was briefed by French Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini, the UNIFIL commander, and other top officials. He would attend a ceremony for slain peacekeepers and also visit other UNIFIL posts throughout the south by helicopter, possibly landing at Khiam, a Shiite town where four U.N. peacekeepers were killed in an Israeli airstrike on July 25.


2:40 a.m.: Israel's foreign minister urged nations to press the Lebanese prime minister to work for the release of two soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, stressing that their release should be unconditional.

1:05 a.m.: Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian militants in the Balata refugee camp in the northern West Bank, Palestinian medics said. The gunmen, local leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, were killed in an exchange of fire during an Israeli troop raid in the camp, the medics said.

Monday, Aug. 28

8:05 p.m.: Troop commitments from France, Italy and several other European nations mean the U.N. will be able to deploy an initial force of 3,500 peacekeepers to south Lebanon, a senior U.N. official said. Italy and France confirmed that they will lead the early vanguard of peacekeepers, with hundreds more troops from other European nations -- and possibly some Asian countries -- to follow in the coming weeks. Italian troops could start deploying within two to three days.


6 p.m.: Italy approved sending 2,500 soldiers to the peacekeeping mission, and the government approved a $38.4 million aid package for Lebanon. "In the coming hours we will initiate the complex logistics for the deployment of the Italian forces in the region," Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said. The Italian Defense Ministry said a naval task force was already being assembled to move about 1,900 soldiers to Lebanon.

5 p.m.: Annan faulted both Israel and Hezbollah for not living up to key sections of the cease-fire resolution.

1:30 p.m.: Indonesia's foreign minister repeated the nation's offer to send 1,000 soldiers in the first wave of new U.N. peacekeepers for south Lebanon, although Israel opposes troops from countries that don't recognize the Jewish state.

12:45 p.m.: Olmert said he accepted full responsibility for the government's decision to go to war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. "The decision .. was entirely mine," he said in a speech in the northern city of Haifa, where he addressed leaders of northern communities damaged by Hezbollah rocket fire.


11:25 a.m.: Annan demanded that Hezbollah turn over two captured Israeli soldiers to the international Red Cross, and that Israel lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon.

10:55 a.m.: Israeli Foreign Minister Livni said a resolution of the conflict must include the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah. "From our side, so long as this issue with the two soldiers is not solved, the whole thing is of little significance," Livni said in Berlin after meeting with Germany's foreign minister.

10:30 a.m.: Kofi Annan said the Lebanese government assured him it would "faithfully" implement the U.N. ceasefire resolution, and the U.N. chief said he saw an opportunity for long-term peace. Annan met separately with Prime Minister Saniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who serves as Hezbollah's de facto negotiator.

9 a.m.: Turkey's cabinet decided in favor of sending peacekeepers to Lebanon and will seek parliamentary approval for the deployment, officials said. Parliament will convene to debate the deployment as early as next week, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said.

6:15 a.m.: The U.S. proposes deploying international observers at the main cargo crossing between Israel and Gaza to prevent repeated security closures of Gaza's economic lifeline, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. Separately, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a resolution of the conflict in Lebanon must mean the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah.

5:45 a.m.: Annan arrived in Beirut at the start of a Mideast tour to strengthen the cease-fire in Lebanon, saying it was "a very critical time" for the country. "I think it's important that I come here myself to discuss with the Lebanese authorities the aftermath of the war and the measures we need to take to implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and to underscore international solidarity," Mr. Annan said.


3:15 a.m.: Germany hopes for the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah militants, a senior official said, but stopped short of confirming that Berlin is negotiating for their freedom. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in Berlin for talks with German intelligence chief Ernst Uhrlau as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

12:05 a.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion reports: French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said an expanded French peacekeeping force would be on the ground in Lebanon within 20 days, as European countries pledged as many as 7,000 troops to help maintain Israel's shaky cease-fire with the Hezbollah militia. More.

Sunday, Aug. 27


9:15 p.m.: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a TV interview that he wouldn't have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war.

8:45 p.m.: Sunday's Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians and wounded two television cameramen, Palestinian officials and residents said.

5 p.m.: In a rare case of self-criticism, a senior official in the Hamas-led government said the Palestinians have bungled the aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and called on residents to stop blaming Israel for all of their woes. Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the government, urged Palestinians to look beyond the conflict with Israel in searching for the causes of internal violence and lawlessness sweeping through the Gaza Strip.

3:50 p.m.: An Israeli aircraft attacked a group of Palestinian militants near the Israeli border in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday night, Palestinian residents said.


2:30 p.m.: Olmert put off a decision on launching an inquiry into political and military handling of the recent fighting in Lebanon, officials said. Earlier, the Israeli prime minister said he received assurances from U.N. chief Kofi Annan to deploy international peacekeepers in Lebanon within a week.

1:30 p.m.: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war.

11:30 a.m.: Israeli troops raided the West Bank city of Ramallah and arrested a Hamas lawmaker, the latest move in Israel's two-month crackdown on the militant group.


7:45 a.m.: Israeli leaders asked financial experts to calculate the cost of the Lebanon war and to budget for preparing Israel's army for a next round of fighting, Olmert's office said. The Haaretz newspaper reported that defense officials are looking for a total of 30 billion shekels (US$6.9 billion) over the next two years, for restocking its armory and developing new weapons. That would be in addition to the existing 46 billion shekel annual defense budget.

5:40 a.m.: A French military plane landed at Beirut airport carrying about 60 soldiers from the Second Regiment of the Legion of Jeni, the first of some 240 French soldiers sent to help the Lebanese army in rebuilding bridges destroyed or damaged by Israeli airstrikes.

5:30 a.m.: Two Fox journalists were released, nearly two weeks after being seized by militants in the longest-running drama involving foreign hostages in the Gaza Strip.

1:25 a.m.: The Israeli army said it launched another airstrike against Palestinian militants in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza, and Hamas said one of its men was killed in the latest raid.

Saturday, Aug. 26


9 p.m.: The Israeli government said it is asking friendly Muslim countries to contribute troops to the U.N. peacekeeping force.

5:20 p.m.: Two missiles fired by Israeli aircraft hit an armored car belonging to the Reuters news agency and wounded a television cameraman inside, Palestinian witnesses said. The Israeli army said it was checking the report. According to witnesses, the cameraman was filming an Israeli raid in Gaza near the Karni crossing when the vehicle was hit.

5:15 p.m.: Five Lebanese, included four children from the same family, were wounded by cluster bombs left over from the Israeli offensive that exploded in the southern villages of Blida and Aitaroun, Lebanese security officials said.

4:40 p.m.: Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said Israel must take into account its Arab neighbors' security if it wants peace in the Middle East. Israel doesn't "have the right to attack whatever state it wants ... Its security cannot be restored to the detriment of other states' security," Prince Saud al-Faisal said. "If Israel is to live in the region, it has to live on a civilized basis."


1 p.m.: Rice called Siniora and said she was exerting "serious and prompt" efforts to get an Israeli blockade lifted as soon as possible, according to a statement from Siniora's office. Rice also stressed the importance of Lebanese authorities controlling border crossings. Saniora said the Lebanese government was going ahead with its plan to control all border crossings.

12:50 p.m.: Hezbollah deputy leader Sheik Naim Kassem said the group will keep its weapons despite international pressure to disarm. Speaking with Lebanon's An Nahar daily, he said Hezbollah's "resistance" to Israel would continue, saying "justifications for ending it do not exist."

Friday, Aug. 25

5:20 p.m.: Lebanon welcomed Europe's decision to accept "effective participation" in the U.N. peacekeeping force in the country, saying the move would help the government reassert its authority in south Lebanon and restore stability to the war-ravaged country.

4:45 p.m.: Israel reiterated that only nations that have diplomatic ties with it should be allowed to contribute troops to a beefed-up international force in Lebanon.

2:30 p.m.: Prodi said that Italian peacekeeping troops could leave for Lebanon as early as Tuesday, Italian news agencies reported.

2:15 p.m.: Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said he is opposed to sending Turkish troops to take part in the expanded peacekeeping force, NTV television reported. Sezer, who has no direct authority to block such a deployment, said sending troops to southern Lebanon would distract from Turkey's chief responsibility of focusing on domestic security threats from separatist Kurdish guerrillas.

2 p.m.: Poland offered to more than double its number of troops serving in the international peacekeeping force to 500, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

1:10 p.m.: Israel said it would lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon after the Lebanese army and a beefed-up international force take its place to prevent Hezbollah guerrillas from importing new arms. "The minute they are there, we will be able to lift it [the blockade]," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

12:50 p.m.: With a pledge of up to 3,000 soldiers, Italy's is expected to be one of the largest contingents in an expanded UNIFIL force. Annan had asked Italy to command the force from February 2007; second in rotation after France. Premier Prodi has said many times that Italy would accept the command if asked.

11:45 a.m.: The EU will provide more than half of the peacekeeping force, with nearly 7,000 troops, for southern Lebanon, Annan said. European officials said it would take up to three months to get all the troops on the ground.


11:05 a.m.: Annan said he believed he would be able to persuade European countries to supply enough troops for the 15,000 peacekeeping forces for southern Lebanon. "I came with the hope that I will leave Brussels with a large number of soldiers," Annan told reporters before an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers got under way. A U.N. cease-fire resolution calls for the force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, to expand from 2,000 troops to 15,000.

9 a.m.: Sharon Begley writes in today's Science Journal: Seeing actions through the lens of sacred values makes explicable what seemed irrational by the usual cost-benefit analysis. Many Israelis say rescuing soldiers snatched by Hezbollah and Hamas is a sacred value, to be achieved at any cost. Hence Israel's willingness to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for a single captive, and to go to war over them. More.


8:55 a.m.: Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said Belgium will deploy around 400 troops to Lebanon as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force. He told a news conference the Belgian contingent would include de-mining, medical and reconstruction units.

8:40 a.m.: The Israeli army said all the weapons it deployed in its recent campaign in southern Lebanon were used legally. The army statement came in response to a New York Times report that the U.S. State Department began investigating Israel's use of American-made cluster bombs in south Lebanon, and whether their use violated secret agreements with Washington.

8:10 a.m.: French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said an expanded French peacekeeping force will be on the ground in Lebanon within 20 days and sharply criticized those, especially in the U.S., who had ridiculed France for its small initial pledge of troops. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Alliot-Marie said France had secured important clarifications in recent days on its ability to use force in policing the cease-fire. More.


8:10 a.m.: The Dutch government will meet next week to discuss sending a navy ship to Lebanon to support the U.N. peacekeeping mission there, a spokesman said. Foreign Minister Ben Bot told the weekly cabinet meeting Friday that Lebanon -- in a request supported by Israel -- has asked for a Dutch navy ship to support the peacekeepers.

7:25 a.m.: Chirac said that he doesn't believe the strengthened U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon needs 15,000 troops, calling that figure excessive. A U.N. resolution calls for the force in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, to expand from 2,000 troops to up to 15,000. Chirac said the territory in question was too small to require that many peacekeepers.

5:30 a.m.: The Belgian government will contribute troops to the expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, a government official said. The formal announcement is expected later Friday. The number of troops hasn't yet been announced.

5:10 a.m.: Homes, gardens and highways across south Lebanon are littered with unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israel, the U.N. said, and the U.S. State Department has reportedly launched an investigation into whether the American-made weapons' use violated secret agreements with the U.S.

3:55 a.m.: The Gaza-Egypt border opened for a day, after weeks of closure following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier in Gaza. The brief opening of the Rafah terminal comes at the end of the summer travel season and will enable hundreds of stranded passengers to get to their destinations.

3:25 a.m.: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov dismissed claims that Hezbollah has Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles. Israel sent a delegation to Russia last week to complain about the missiles that it says were used by Hezbollah in the recent weeks of fighting in Lebanon; the missiles reportedly have been a particularly effective part of Hezbollah's arsenal.

3:10 a.m.: Syria must respect Lebanon's sovereignty and an arms embargo imposed on Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel's foreign minister said, in response to Syria's opposition to the deployment of international forces on the Lebanon-Syria border. Israel wants an international force to be sent before it will lift its air and sea blockade, while Syria has threatened to close its border in such a case. Israel says Syria is a key arms supplier to Hezbollah.

2:15 a.m.: The day after Chirac pledged to increase France's peacekeeping deployment in Lebanon to 2,000 soldiers, about 150 French troops came ashore at Naqoura in southern Lebanon. The reinforcements – an engineering team -- already were in the pipeline to join the U.N. contingent currently on the ground.

1:15 a.m.: An international force should be sent to the Gaza Strip if the deployment of U.N. troops on the Israel-Lebanon border is successful, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema told the Israeli Haaretz daily newspaper. The Palestinians have long called for an international presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but Israel has opposed the idea.

12:55 a.m.: Olmert's popularity plunged after Israel's war with Hezbollah and he would lose to the right-wing opposition if elections were held now, according to a poll. Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is now the most popular Israeli politician, according to the survey by the Dahaf Institute, published in the Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper.

Thursday, Aug. 24


11:30 p.m.: WSJ's Neil King Jr. reports: The Mideast solution Rice helped to craft is looking shaky, opening her and the Bush administration to criticism that they oversold the strength of the deal to end the war. More.

11:20 p.m.: Secretary-General Kofi Annan is heading to Europe to promote troop contributions to an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon and then to the Middle East to urge support for the fragile Israeli-Hezbollah cease-fire and Lebanese-Israeli peace.


4:45 p.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora's remarks in a French television interview underlined the difficulties he faces in trying to meet the competing demands of Israel and Syria. "We have deployed the Lebanese army on the border, and we have no intention of showing any hostility toward Syria. We want cordial relations with Syria and we are taking care of the issue of the border to prevent any infiltration into Lebanon," he said. Later in the day, Siniora's cabinet affirmed its determination to uphold the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

2:10 p.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion reports: France said it will increase its contribution to an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon to 2,000 troops, a welcome boost to United Nations efforts to build a force credible enough to maintain a tenuous cease-fire between Israel and the Hezbollah militia. More.

1 p.m.: Chirac was scheduled announce whether he is willing to contribute more troops, his office said after a Cabinet meeting. Aside from France and Italy, other nations considering contributions include Spain, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Belgium. Turkey, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand and China also are considering participating in the U.N. mission.

11:30 a.m.: In a letter to the troops, Israel's military chief acknowledged publicly for the first time that there were shortcomings in the military's performance during the recent fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

6:50 a.m.: The foreign minister of Finland, which holds the European Union presidency, said he wants to see the first reinforcements to a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon arrive within a week. "The time of course is crucial, and we would like to see the first reinforcements for UNIFIL arrive within a week if possible," Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said after meeting with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "The main thrust of the force should be there within a few weeks," said Tuomioja, cautioning that the full deployment could take months.

6:45 a.m.: Olmert promised to invest large sums of money in Israel's rocket-scarred north and turn it into a "paradise." Mr. Olmert spoke during a tour of a hospital in the town of Nahariya on the Israel-Lebanon border that had come under rocket fire during the monthlong Israel-Hezbollah war.

5:05 a.m.: The United Nations wants Cyprus to be the site of a rear command and staging center for the expanded international force in Lebanon, Cyprus's foreign minister said. Foreign Minister George Lilikas said the U.N. informed the government a few days ago of its intention to set up the center on the eastern Mediterranean island. "We are discussing the technical aspects with the United Nations," Mr. Lilikas said.

5 a.m.: Israeli police questioned President Moshe Katsav for a second day about sexual-harassment allegations, while a lawmaker collected signatures to begin the impeachment process. Police questioned Mr. Katsav Wednesday for more than five hours.

3:45 a.m.: Blair's peace mission to the Middle East appeared in jeopardy after Hezbollah declared he wouldn't be welcome in Lebanon because of his support for Israel during the war, The Times of London reported.

2:45 a.m.: New Zealand's prime minister welcomed news that a New Zealand cameraman and his American colleague were alive more than a week after being abducted in Gaza, but said her government would pay no ransom to secure their freedom.

12:55 a.m.: India is considering withdrawing its existing peacekeepers from southern Lebanon, even as the international community struggles to find troops to bolster forces there, officials said. Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, however, that the 775 Indian soldiers wouldn't leave before U.N. reinforcements arrive. He gave no reason for the planned withdrawal.

12 a.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion and Karby Leggett report: Europe's difficulties in raising enough troops to enforce the cease-fire in Lebanon have exposed some hard truths that are testing the Continent's ability to serve as a global military power and Middle East peacemaker. More.

Wednesday, Aug. 23

9:50 p.m.: Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and detained a senior member of the governing Hamas movement in a raid in southern Gaza early on Thursday, according to a Reuters report. Family members said the dead man was the brother of Younis Abu Daqqa, the detained Hamas member. More.

4 p.m.: The U.N. said Secretary-General Annan is heading to the Middle East later this week and will visit Lebanon, Israel and most likely Syria and Iran to try to promote support for the U.N. resolution that led to the fragile Israeli-Hezbollah cease-fire. Annan's first stop will be in Brussels to attend a meeting Friday of EU foreign ministers that will discuss the EU's contribution to an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon. The U.N. has appealed for European troops to balance pledges from several Muslim countries so the force will be broadly acceptable to the Israelis and Lebanese.

1:10 p.m.: Switzerland is unlikely to send troops to the international peace force in Lebanon, two government ministries said. Switzerland would focus its activities on humanitarian assistance to the civilian population, the foreign and defense ministries said. Switzerland, eager to maintain its record of staying out of world conflicts, has sent few soldiers to support international peace forces. The 200 peacekeepers stationed in Kosovo are Switzerland's biggest foreign mission.

10:35 a.m.: Israel's foreign minister called the situation in Lebanon "explosive" and urged the international community to work quickly to deploy peacekeeping troops there. Tzipi Livni was meeting with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy in Paris.

8:15 a.m.: Three Lebanese soldiers were killed while they dismantled an unexploded missile in southern Lebanon, Lebanese security officials said.


5:10 a.m.: Syrian President Bashar Assad rejected deploying U.N. troops along the Syrian borders with Lebanon. "This is an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty and a hostile position," he said in an interview with Dubai Television. Assad also urged the Lebanese government to adhere to its responsibilities and not embark on anything that could sabotage the relations between the two countries.

3:45 a.m.: An Israeli soldier was shot during a military operation in the Lebanese village of Taibeh, Lebanese al Arabiya television said. The report didn't specify the condition of the soldier.

3:10 a.m.: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is in Paris for meetings with French diplomats. The meetings with Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy are to focus on the situation in Lebanon since the U.N. cease-fire and also touch on renewed efforts to find a "global solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict," the French Foreign Ministry said.

2:45 a.m.: An Israeli soldier was killed and three other wounded in southern Lebanon when their tank drove on a land mine, Arab news media said. The Israeli military wasn't immediately available to comment on the report.


1:15 a.m.: Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz gave Olmert a list of options for investigating the conduct of the recent war in Lebanon, the Justice Ministry said, as the Israeli leader faced mounting calls for a sweeping probe. One of the alternatives Mazuz presented was an independent commission of inquiry, with the power to dismiss top government and military officials.

12:45 a.m.: Israel signed a contract with Germany last month to buy two more submarines capable of firing nuclear missiles, according to The Jerusalem Post. The Dolphin-class vessels will have a propulsion system that will allow them to remain underwater far longer than the submarines in the Israeli Navy's current fleet. The submarines will be operational in the near future, and carry a price tag of nearly $1.3 billion, the newspaper said. Israel's Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report.


12:45 a.m.: Declaring that the Middle East peace process has reached "a sorry juncture," the U.N. political chief called for a new international effort to settle decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari told the U.N. Security Council that the crises in the region must be addressed together in a comprehensive approach championed by the council "to bring peace and stability to the region as a whole."

Tuesday, Aug. 22

5:45 p.m.: A senior U.N. envoy visiting Israel after talks with Lebanese leaders in Beirut said that efforts were continuing to secure the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah and that Israel may be warming to the idea of trading Lebanese prisoners it holds in exchange.

4 p.m.: An oil slick caused by Israeli bombing has begun sinking to the floor of the Mediterranean, blanketing marine life with sludge, according to a Greenpeace video that shows dead fish along the sea bottom. "You have the bottom of the sea filled with fuel -- between the rocks and little valleys. It's just dotted and covered with black tar," said Mohammed El Sarji, head of the Lebanese Union of Professional Divers. The U.N. has said the spill could take as long as a year to clean up and cost $64 million.

2:10 p.m.: Annan plans to attend a meeting of European Union foreign ministers Friday as the group seeks to advance efforts to pull together a peacekeeping force. The meeting was called at the request of Italy amid mounting international pressure on the Europeans to commit troops.

2 p.m.: Olmert said Israel will lift its air and sea blockade of Lebanon once an international peacekeeping force is deployed along Lebanon's borders.

12:15 p.m.: Lebanese President Emil Lahoud said Israeli attacks could cost more than US$5 billion in damages, well above the government's previous estimate. Lahoud made the remarks in an interview broadcast late Monday with Venezuelan TV station Telesur. Earlier, a Lebanese official had put the number at US$3.5 billion.

9:45 a.m.: U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said that the security situation in Lebanon would remain "vulnerable" for two to three months.

8:45 a.m.: Italy, which had signaled willingness to take on a major role in the peacekeeping mission, threatened to withhold troops if Israel doesn't respect the cease-fire.

6:30 a.m.: A Hezbollah cabinet minister said the government may attempt to break the Israeli naval and air blockade of Lebanon by calling on ships and aircraft to travel to Lebanese ports without prior Israeli approval. The government has condemned the blockade, saying it violates the U.N. cease-fire resolution, and the foreign minister called on the international community to force Israel to end the blockade.

4:15 a.m.: Israeli troops shot and killed three militants from the Islamic Jihad group near the Israel-Gaza border fence. The Israeli army said soldiers opened fire after spotting what they considered suspicious figures walking near the fence, carrying large bags. No weapons were found near the bodies, but Palestinian security officials said the three had been sent to carry out an attack.

4 a.m.: Indonesia insisted on its right to send troops to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, dismissing Israeli objections to its involvement because the mostly Muslim country doesn't recognize the Jewish state. Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said Israel shouldn't be able to dictate which countries join the mission. "We insist that the decision is taken by United Nations, not Israel," he said. "It is illogical to put diplomatic relations [with Israel] as a precondition to joining the force."

3:35 a.m.: German airline Lufthansa said it would resume flights to Beirut, more than a month after fighting forced it to suspend the route. The airline said it would resume flying five times a week from Frankfurt to the Lebanese capital.

3:10 a.m.: Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul left for Syria to discuss the cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon and Turkey's possible contribution to a peacekeeping force, stressing that Turkey will never accept mission to disarm Hezbollah.

2:55 a.m.: Israeli soldiers, backed by helicopter gunships, tanks and armored personnel carriers, moved into Palestinian-controlled areas near the main Israel-Gaza cargo crossing, conducting house-to-house searches and arrests. Five Palestinians were wounded moderately, including three Hamas militants, medical officials said. Three Palestinians were arrested, security officials said.

2:30 a.m.: The Israeli Defense Ministry has suspended a panel's review of the military's performance during the just-ended war in Lebanon, security officials said. Defense Minister Amir Peretz appointed the panel last week following widespread criticism of military failings during the 34-day offensive against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas. But the panel's operations were frozen until the government decides whether to order a broader inquiry into the conduct of the war, the security officials said.

Monday, Aug. 21

9:20 p.m.: WSJ's Guy Chazan reports: A snowballing protest movement led by Israeli reservist soldiers enraged at the government's conduct of the war with Hezbollah is roiling Israel's political establishment and fueling demands for the resignation of Olmert and the military top brass. More.

5:40 p.m.: How would you grade the White House's handling of the Lebanon crisis? Vote.

5:35 p.m.: Where things stand. Olmert tried to defuse growing public anger over his handling of the war. The Israeli army is waiting for the U.N. force to arrive before fully withdrawing from southern Lebanon. The fighting has left nearly 966 people dead -- 809 in Lebanon and 157 on the Israeli side, according to official counts. The three main U.S. allies in the Arab world -- Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- have been pushing for a revival of negotiations between Israel and Syria.

3:25 p.m.: Italian Prime Minister Prodi said he told U.N. Secretary-General Annan that Italy is willing to command the U.N. force in Lebanon, news agencies reported. Prodi said Annan would make the decision about who would lead the force "after completing an analysis and discussions with the leaders of countries that are interested in joining the mission," the Italian news agencies ANSA and Apcom reported. Prodi said a new U.N. resolution proposed by Bush was "prudent."

3:20 p.m.: Lebanon needs about US$3.5 billion to repair buildings and infrastructure damaged during the war, and the rebuilding effort was being hampered by lack of government leadership, Fadel al-Shalaq, the Lebanese official in charge of reconstruction, told CNN.

3 p.m.: Embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad moved to ease tensions with Arab leaders whom he had mocked as incompetent in confronting Israel -- causing the latest rift among Arab states. Last week, Assad knocked Arab leaders as "half men," underlining the sharp division among Arab nations. Assad's conciliatory move came amid reports that Qatar has stepped in to mediate between Syria and Egypt.

2:45 p.m.: United Nations envoy Terje Roed-Larsen met with Israeli officials. He arrived in Israel yesterday after two days of meetings with officials in Beirut, where discussions focused on the need to halt the supply of arms and ammunition to Hezbollah, while lifting Israel's air and sea embargo on Lebanon. The envoy had separate meetings with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Vice Premier Shimon Peres and said both Israel and Lebanon appeared keen to preserve the cease-fire.

2:20 p.m.: The U.S. plans to introduce a new U.N. resolution on disarming Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, but U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said it shouldn't hold up the quick deployment of U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. says it wants at least 3,500 new troops on the ground in south Lebanon by Aug. 28, but countries that are potential troop contributors have expressed concern about the rules of engagement.

1:40 p.m.: Israeli troops shot and wounded two Hezbollah guerrillas during a clash in southern Lebanon, the army said. Soldiers opened fire after guerrillas approached the force in a "threatening manner."

1 p.m.: Hundreds of Israeli reservists pushed for an investigation of how the government and army handled fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas, saying they were rushed into battle without enough food, water and equipment.


10:05 a.m.: In a news conference, Bush called for a peacekeeping force to be put in place in Lebanon as quickly as possible and announced $230 million in aid for humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, plus additional funding to rebuild infrastructure in Israel. (Bush's remarks)

8:30 a.m.: Syria is the "single most aggressive member of the axis of evil," said Olmert, ruling out a resumption of negotiations with Damascus at this time. "I am the last person who will say I want to negotiate with Syria," Olmert said in unusually harsh comments. In a visit to the Arab town of Maghar in northern Israel, Olmert noted that rockets that hit the town in 34 days of Israel-Hezbollah fighting came from Syria.

7:25 a.m.: Pope Benedict XVI expressed dismay that the conflict in the Middle East has persisted for so long and lamented a lack of dialogue to bring lasting, the Vatican said. The pontiff, who made several impassioned pleas for a cease-fire during the recent Lebanon fighting, launched his latest appeal for reconciliation during a Mass on Sunday at a religious gathering in the Italian sea resort of Rimini. "In this moment of profound trouble, the thoughts of the Holy Father are with the Holy Land and the Middle East regions," he said.

6:30 a.m.: Israeli warplanes roared over Lebanon's northern Mediterranean coast and along its border with Syria after the Lebanese defense minister warned rogue Palestinian rocket teams against attacking Israel and provoking retaliation that could unravel an already shaky cease-fire. More.

5:30 a.m.: Olmert ruled out peace talks with Syria as long as it supports "terror organizations," following a suggestion from a cabinet member earlier in the day that it was time to resume talks with Syria despite its support for Hezbollah. "I recommend not to get carried away with any false hopes," Olmert said during a tour of northern Israel which. "When Syria stops support for terror, when it stops giving missiles to terror organizations, then we will be happy to negotiate with them."

2:55 a.m.: Germany's defense minister insisted anew that Berlin will send no combat troops to Lebanon, but said he was hopeful of a "robust" mandate for its proposed naval contingent. German concerns rooted in the Nazi-era past helped prompt the government to rule out putting front-line troops on the ground in southern Lebanon, near Israel's border. Instead, it is offering to help patrol Lebanon's coastline and ensure Hezbollah militants aren't supplied with weapons by sea.

2:30 a.m.: Israel should resume negotiations with Syria and, in exchange for peace, give up the Golan Heights, an Israeli Cabinet minister said. It wasn't immediately clear whether Public Security Minister Avi Dichter expressed his personal views or spoke for Olmert.

1:50 a.m.: The time isn't right to resume negotiations with Syria, Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said, adding that Israel is too busy trying to deal with Lebanon and the Palestinians. Israel's defense minister, Amir Peretz, had proposed last week that Israel put out feelers to Damascus, amid growing concerns in Israel that Syria, if left on the sidelines, would further deepen its ties with Iran. Peres dismissed the idea.

12:25 a.m.: France has called for a meeting of European Union countries this week to determine the number of troops they are prepared to contribute to the expanded U.N. peacekeeping force. Europe has been slow to make any firm troop commitments, and U.N. officials have called on the Europeans to offer more troops to balance pledges from Muslim countries.

Sunday, Aug. 20

8:25 p.m.: Lebanon's defense minister said he was certain Hezbollah wouldn't break the cease-fire but warned rogue Palestinian groups of harsh measures and a traitor's fate if they incited Israeli retaliation by launching rockets into the Jewish state. Also, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, a Sunni Muslim, toured the devastated Hezbollah stronghold in Shiite south Beirut on Sunday and decried the destruction wrought by Israeli bombs as "crimes against humanity."

5:25 p.m.: A top U.N. envoy praised the deployment of the Lebanese army on the country's border with Israel and said the United Nations was seeking "a diplomatic solution" concerning Hezbollah's weapons. U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said 2,000 Lebanese soldiers have been deployed so far along Lebanon's eastern border near Syria with the goal of eventually having 8,600 along the border. Some 1,000 Lebanese soldiers also have been deployed along Lebanon's coastline, he said.

3:30 p.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Olmert asked Italy to head a U.N. peace force in Lebanon, and to deploy troops to oversee Lebanon's border with Syria. The statement said that in a telephone conversation with Olmert, Italian Premier Prodi said his country intended to send a "significant military force." (See the text of the statement.) In an interview with Rome daily Il Messaggero published Sunday, a leader of Prodi's coalition said Italy would be willing to lead the proposed 15,000-member force if asked by the U.N.


12:30 p.m.: Israeli officials say Prime Minister Olmert has rejected the presence of peacekeepers in Lebanon from countries that don't have relations with Israel. Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh -- Muslim countries that don't have diplomatic ties with Israel -- are among the only countries to have offered front-line troops for the expanded force.

11:55 a.m.: Arab League foreign ministers convened an emergency meeting to discuss how to fund reconstruction in Lebanon and defuse Mideast tensions amid rising discord between moderate Arabs and Syria, a main backer of Hezbollah. The Kuwaiti government plans to donate $800 million to Lebanon, Foreign Minister Sheik Mohammed Al Sabbah announced upon arrival in Cairo. Saudi Arabia said it already had donated $500 million, and other oil-rich nations have made pledges to chip in.

10:50 a.m.: Israeli troops detained a senior Hamas legislator, pushing forward with a crackdown on the Islamic militant group, Palestinian officials and relatives of the man said. Troops surrounded the home of Mahmoud al-Ramahi, secretary-general of the parliament, in broad daylight and detained him, said his sister, Yaqeen.

10:15 a.m.: German Chancellor Merkel said she hopes Europe will pledge more troops for the international force in Lebanon, according to an interview published Sunday in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, but she stuck to her insistence that Berlin will send no combat troops. "I have said clearly that the deployment of combat troops on the ground is ruled out for us," she said. "That has historical reasons, too." That was an allusion to concerns rooted in the Nazi-era past over stationing German troops near Israel's border.

7:05 a.m.: Olmert said he would appoint a panel to review the performance of the government and army during the recent fighting in Lebanon, officials said. Announcing the inquiry at his cabinet's weekly meeting, Olmert didn't clarify what authorities the panel would have but said he would coordinate his decision with the attorney general and ask the cabinet to approve the panel's formation in the coming days. Participants in the cabinet meeting said the panel apparently wouldn't have the authority to make personal recommendations about people involved in the decision-making process. Some cabinet ministers called for an official government inquiry.


5:40 a.m.: Siniora toured south Beirut accompanied by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah backer. The prime minister declared the Israeli bombing campaign "a crime against humanity."

5:35 a.m.: Iran rejected reports it poured cash into Lebanon for Hezbollah to help rebuild the hundreds of homes destroyed during the 34 day conflict with Israel. "So far neither the quantity nor the quality of help has been determined," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. But he said Iran would assist Lebanon in the near future.

5:20 a.m.: Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul left for Israel to discuss the cease-fire and Turkey's possible contribution to a peacekeeping force.

5:10 a.m.: Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said any group breaking the cease-fire would be "decisively dealt with," warning Israel could use any rocket fire as a pretext for retaliation. He said Hezbollah was committed to the cease-fire. But he warned that rocket fire from any other faction would be "considered collaboration with Israel" because it would provide the Jewish state with a pretext to strike.

4:55 a.m.: Greece is likely to accept a request to send troops to a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis said.

4:35 a.m.: South Korea suggested it will send peacekeepers to Lebanon.

4:30 a.m.: Israel's military chief told the Cabinet the war in Lebanon ended with an Israeli victory, though not a knockout. "Tallying up the points, it is definitely a victory, perhaps not a knockout, but in terms of achievements, it is [a victory]," Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said.

Saturday, Aug. 19


7:15 p.m.: Annan said Israel's raid against Hezbollah violated the cease-fire agreement. A statement issued by his spokesman said the U.N. chief spoke with both Siniora and Olmert about the fighting. "The secretary-general is deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities," the statement said. "All such violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation."

6:10 p.m.: French soldiers landed in Lebanon, the first reinforcements for a U.N. peacekeeping force tasked with keeping the cease-fire. About 50 French troops -- military engineers -- were to prepare for the arrival of 200 more soldiers expected next week, said Cmdr. Bertrand Bonneau, a spokesman for the French contingent.


3:15 p.m.: Olmert spoke with Annan, defending Israel's commando raid in Lebanon. "Prime Minister Olmert said the activity was intended to prevent the supply of new weapons and ammunition for Hezbollah. The prime minister pointed to the importance of the supervision of the Syrian-Lebanese border," Israeli government officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media.

11:50 a.m.: Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said his country was willing to participate in a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but gave no details of possible troop numbers.

10:00 a.m.: Murr threatened to halt the army's deployment in south Lebanon if the U.N. doesn't take up the issue of the Israeli raid.

1:00 a.m.: Hezbollah fighters battled Israeli commandos who launched a raid deep inside Lebanon, killing one soldier. Siniora called the battle a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. cease-fire.

Friday, Aug. 18


11:55 p.m.: WSJ's Guy Chazan in Tel Aviv, Karby Leggett in Beirut, Lebanon, and Neil King in Washington report. In many eyes, Hezbollah emerged as the victor, having faced down the mighty Israeli military and hugely enhanced its standing with the anti-Israeli populations across the Mideast. What happened? Israel repeatedly underestimated Hezbollah. It miscalculated the political support it would win from Lebanon. Israel's civilian and military leadership divided over how to wage the war. And some Western powers, having seen Hezbollah's might, are wary of taking it on by getting into a peacekeeping venture. More.


3:40 p.m.: Israeli drones and warplanes crisscrossed the skies above Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, near the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek, Lebanese security officials said. The Voice of Lebanon radio said the aircraft opened fire, and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. reported airstrikes northeast of Baalbek, the major city in the Bekaa. However, the security officials said anti-aircraft weapons were fired to drive off the planes, and that the Israeli aircraft hadn't made any strikes.  

1:15 p.m.: Israeli soldiers returning from the war in Lebanon say the army was poorly prepared, slow to rescue injured comrades and suffered from a lack of supplies so dire soldiers had to drink water from the canteens of dead enemies. Israeli newspapers quoted disgruntled reservists as saying they had no provisions, were sent into battle with outdated or faulty equipment and insufficient supplies, and received little or no training.


1 p.m.: President Bush acknowledged it could take time for the people of Lebanon and the world to come to his view of the war as a loss for Hezbollah. "The first reaction of course of Hezbollah and its supporters is to declare victory. I guess I would have done the same thing if I were them,'' Bush said. "Sometimes it takes people awhile to come to the sober realization of what forces create stability and what don't. Hezbollah is a force of instability." He also expressed some disappointment with France's decision to offer just 400 soldiers for the U.N. peacekeeping force. See White House transcript.

4:45 a.m.: Italy's government formally agreed to send peacekeeping troops to Lebanon, giving the mission its political backing, Infrastructure Minister Antonio Di Pietro said.

3:38 a.m.: A senior Israeli delegation headed to Moscow earlier this week to complain that Russian-made antitank missiles had reached Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and were used in the 34-day conflict, government officials said.

3:21 a.m.: French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie defended France's decision to send just 200 additional troops to reinforce the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon and reiterated that the force needs a clear mandate to operate effectively. "I can't let it be said or implied that France is not doing its duty in the Lebanese crisis," the minister told French radio RTL in an interview.

1:58 a.m.: Arab nations want the U.N. Security Council to join in launching a new peace process to end the broader Arab-Israeli conflict, saying the "road map" unveiled in 2003 to establish a Palestinian state is dead.

1:47 a.m.: Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian militants during an arrest raid, while three more Palestinians were killed elsewhere in the West Bank while mishandling explosives, officials said. In a village near the town of Bethlehem, Israeli forces tried to arrest two armed Islamic Jihad militants who tried to flee, the army said. The forces fired at the militants and killed them. They were armed with assault weapons and hand grenades, the army said.

1:23 a.m.: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has put his plans for a unilateral pullout from much of the West Bank on hold for now, but hasn't abandoned the idea altogether, a cabinet minister said, confirming a newspaper report.

Thursday, Aug. 17

8:11 p.m.: President Jacques Chirac announced that France will immediately double to 400 troops its contingent in the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The statement from Chirac's office came after he spoke by phone Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

7:45 p.m.: The United Nations got pledges of 3,500 troops for an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but it was unclear whether the soldiers represented the right mix of countries and units and could deploy very quickly.

5:24 p.m.: Nearly 50 countries that could contribute the 13,000 new troops needed to expand the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon met Thursday amid concern over the ground rules and firepower the soldiers could use. Bangladesh pledged up to 2,000 troops and France offered 200, a disappointment to some who expected more from the country likely to lead the force. More1.

3:52 p.m.: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that militant groups promised him they would suspend their attacks on Israel in hopes of ending a nearly two-month-long Israeli crackdown in the Gaza Strip. Militant groups hedged their bets, denying there was a formal agreement with Abbas, while leaving the door open to a possible halt in attacks.

3:19 p.m.: Italian Premier Romano Prodi has pressed the U.N. for precise rules of engagement for the peacekeeping force to be deployed in Lebanon while confirming Italy was willing to contribute to the military mission in a "significant" way.

3:10 p.m.: German Chancellor Merkel said that Germany wouldn't send combat troops to an international peacekeeping force in Lebanon, but was contemplating offering help securing the country's coast. After meeting with parliamentary leaders, Merkel said Germany was looking at "naval security" as part of its effort to support the force.

1:10 p.m.: Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Peres narrowed the time frame in which Israel might withdraw its forces from Lebanon to one or two weeks as international peacekeeping forces join Lebanon's troops in securing Hezbollah's stronghold at the border.

11:30 a.m.: Lebanese civilians are returning to their homes quicker than expected after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, posing big challenges to aid agencies, the European Union said. The foreign trade minister of Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said tens of thousands of Lebanese who fled the month-long fighting between Israel and Hezbollah have started to return.


8 a.m.: Demand for stocks listed in Beirut is surging, even before the bourse lifts the trading restrictions put in place to safeguard the market during the conflict with Israel. Fadi Khalaf, chairman of the Beirut Stock Exchange, said the constraints will be removed from Monday. After closing for business July 14, two days after the conflict with Israel erupted, the BSE reopened Aug. 1 and imposed restrictions that included a minimum trade value and a narrowing in the band of allowed share price fluctuations.

6:15 a.m.: A Middle East Airlines passenger jet flew into Beirut from Jordan, marking the first commercial flight to land at the country's main airport since it was attacked by Israel last month. The Israeli military said it had coordinated the plane's arrival, but warned it didn't constitute an end to the air blockade.

5:30 a.m.: France wants to send a small, purely symbolic contingent to the strengthened U.N. force in Lebanon, and the U.N. is trying to convince French officials that a decision to send so few would be devastating, a French newspaper said. Although France has been widely expected to lead the force, Le Monde newspaper reported that it planned to contribute only 10 officers and a contingent of 200 military engineers to the force.

4:47 a.m.: The leader of Lebanon's anti-Syrian parliamentary majority lashed out at Syrian President Assad, accusing him of trying to sow strife in the neighboring country where it kept an occupation force for 29 years. Saad Hariri, son of the slain former premier Rafik Hariri, was responding to a speech Tuesday by the Syrian leader in which he accused Lebanon's anti-Syrian groups of allying themselves with Israel, which bombarded Lebanon for 34 days. "The speech was an incitement for sedition in Lebanon. The Syrian president has hurt his position, Syria's and Lebanon's," he said in a speech to supporters.

4:41 a.m.: Israel's defense minister, his credentials already in question before the just-ended war in Lebanon, says the military played down the extent of the Hezbollah guerrilla group's missile threat when he took office, according to a newspaper report.

3:50 a.m.: A Middle East Airlines passenger jet was expected to arrive at Beirut airport, heralding the end of a 36-day Israeli blockade, a company official said. The aircraft coming from Amman, Jordan, would mark the first commercial flight to fly to Rafik Hariri International Airport since July 13.

12:13 a.m.: Lebanese troops, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, began deploying south of the Litani River in line with a U.N. cease-fire plan to end fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

12:11 a.m.: Dozens of countries that are potential contributors to an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon are meeting to find out exactly how the troops will operate. The U.N. hopes that many will then offer to participate.

Wednesday, Aug. 16

9:52 p.m.: WSJ's Jay Solomon and Sally Beatty report. International aid is starting to flow into Lebanon as a three-day-old cease-fire takes hold, but U.S. hopes of winning the peace are plagued by logistical hurdles, political tensions and an absence of cash from Western sources that could ultimately undermine the war-ravaged country's rehabilitation. More2.

[U.N. flag]

7 p.m.: The Israeli army began handing over positions to the U.N., stepping up its withdrawal from southern Lebanon. More than 50% of the areas Israel holds has been transferred to the U.N. peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL, the Israeli army said, adding the process would occur in stages and would depend on a stronger U.N. force as well as "the ability of the Lebanese army to take effective control of the area.''

5:20 p.m.: Where things stand. Lebanese turned out by the hundreds to sign up for aid from Hezbollah, which is offering rent money, reconstruction money and even money for new furniture in a campaign likely to win new public support. The Lebanese cabinet ordered the army to deploy southward but said they wouldn't try to disarm Hezbollah. The fighting has left nearly 966 people dead -- 809 in Lebanon and 157 on the Israeli side, according to official counts.

5:05 p.m.: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a message to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, described the group's resistance against Israel's military onslaught a "victory" for Islam.

3:40 p.m.: A Lebanese general was ordered arrested for appearing in a videotape drinking tea with Israeli soldiers who had occupied his south Lebanon barracks during their incursion of the country.

3 p.m.: French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France is willing to lead the enlarged U.N. force in Lebanon until at least February. But she expressed concern that the force's mandate was "fuzzy" and said the peacekeepers need to have sufficient resources and a clear mission.

12:30 p.m.: A top government official said the Lebanese cabinet approved a plan to deploy the Lebanese army south of the Litani River starting Thursday.

11:50 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minister Peretz appointed a former army chief to head a committee to investigate Israel's conduct during the 34 day fight against Hezbollah guerrillas, senior defense officials said. The committee, made up of business executives and retired generals, would also look into the army's preparedness ahead of the fighting, the officials said.


11 a.m.: The Lebanese cabinet opened a twice delayed meeting and was expected to order the army to deploy to the south while skirting the issue of Hezbollah arms, a key requirement of the cease-fire that has ended fighting between Israel and the guerrillas. "The Lebanese army will deploy (in the south) and will be for all the Lebanese," President Emile Lahoud told reporters as he entered the meeting.

10 a.m.: The Lebanese army will begin moving Thursday into a "significant part" of south Lebanon left behind by Israeli troops, a U.N. peacekeeping official said. Small military delegations from the two countries agreed to details of troop movements at a meeting with the UNIFIL peacekeeping force at the border crossing point at Ras Naquora.

9:45 a.m.: Israel will halt the withdrawal of its troops from southern Lebanon if the Lebanese army doesn't deploy its troops there, Israel's military chief said.

7:30 a.m.: France's foreign minister called for Israel to lift is air, naval and land blockade of Lebanon, saying it was unnecessary with the U.N. cease-fire plan holding.


5:30 a.m.: Israel's military chief said Israeli soldiers would remain in southern Lebanon for months, if necessary, until replaced by a combined force of U.N. and Lebanese army soldiers, Israel Radio reported.

4 a.m.: Palestinian leaders are "very upset" about the kidnapping of two journalists in Gaza and have assured New Zealand diplomats they are doing everything they can to win their release, a New Zealand official said. Meanwhile, the wife of a kidnapped Fox News cameraman said she's been told by Palestinian officials her husband's captors acted on their own, without support from militant groups.

1:45 a.m.: Foreign ministers of France, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia were due to arrive in Beirut to work out details on assembling a 15,000-strong international force to oversee peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon.

1:15 a.m.: An Israeli airstrike blew up a house in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, killing two people and wounding at least four people, officials said. The attack completely destroyed the house, crushing two people to death and wounding four neighbors, hospital officials said. The army said the house was used as a weapons storehouse by militants and that the residents were warned to leave before the strike. However, neighbors said residents of the house had apparently ignored the warnings.

1:06 a.m.: The United Nations said the 2,000 U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon can start overseeing the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the deployment of the Lebanese army very quickly if all parties agree. But the U.N. hopes 3,500 well-equipped international troops can reinforce the U.N. contingent within 10 days to two weeks to help consolidate the fragile cessation of hostilities and create the conditions for Israeli forces to head home, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hedi Annabi said.

Tuesday, Aug. 15


11:49 p.m: WSJ's Karby Leggett reports. The rebuilding of Lebanon is the first real postwar test of wills between Hezbollah and those in the Lebanese government who want the Shiite group to become purely a political party. How it goes could set the tone for whether Hezbollah emerges from the conflict an even stronger social force, still armed and with continuing ties to Syria and Iran, or abolishes its military wing. More3.

5:40 p.m.: Where things stand. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers walked out of Lebanon as a cease-fire with Hezbollah solidified after a shaky start. The international community looked to build a U.N. peacekeeping force for south Lebanon, but it remained unclear how quickly such a force could be deployed. The fighting has left nearly 950 people dead -- 791 in Lebanon and 155 on the Israeli side, according to official counts. An estimated 500,000 Israelis and about one million Lebanese, or a quarter of the population, have been displaced, government officials said.

5:20 p.m.: Israel's army says it killed the head of Hezbollah special forces just before cease-fire took effect.

4 p.m.: No member of Hezbollah's top leadership was killed in Israeli attacks against Lebanon, a senior Hezbollah official said on the group's television station. "Thank God, no one in a leadership position has been martyred ... even though we hope to be martyrs one day," said Sheik Naim Kassem.

3:40 p.m.: Annan said that while the international community was working to put together a fortified U.N. peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon as quickly as possible, deployment could take "weeks or months."

[U.N. flag]

3 p.m.: Forty-five countries have attended technical sessions for potential contributors to a beefed-up U.N. force and the United Nations is hopeful that the first announcements of new troops will be made at a formal meeting expected to take place on Thursday, U.N. officials said.

2 p.m.: The Bush administration dismissed Iranian and Syrian claims of victory in Lebanon as shameful blustering. "It is terrible that the president of Iran is trying to take advantage of this tragedy," David Welch, a senior State Department official, said. Both Iran and Syria are "trying to pile on popular emotion and anger at a time of tragedy for their own selfish advantage," the assistant secretary of state said at a news conference.


12 p.m.: Israel plans to withdraw a large contingent of its troops from Lebanon on Wednesday and hand over the territory to the Lebanese army under the auspices of the commander of a U.N. force there, according to senior Israeli military officials.

11 a.m.: Germany's foreign minister canceled a trip to Syria in protest at speech by Assad, who praised Hezbollah and warned Israel. Frank-Walter Steinmeier had planned to fly to Damascus from the Jordanian capital, Amman, in a round of talks aimed at resolving the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

10:15 a.m.: Jordan called for the immediate resumption of Arab peacemaking with Israel, saying the time was ripe after guns fell silent in the Lebanese-Israeli conflict. King Abdullah II warned the Lebanon conflict "could be repeated unless the international community shoulders its responsibility and works for a comprehensive solution to he Arab-Israeli conflict."

[Mahmoud Abbas]

9:45 a.m.: The Palestinian president and prime minister were intervening Tuesday in the case of two Fox News journalists who have been kidnapped and remain missing. Abbas and Haniyeh scheduled meetings with the news organization's Jerusalem bureau chief, Eli Fastman, and its chief correspondent in Israel, Jennifer Griffin.

9:45 a.m.: Israeli lawmakers called for the resignation of the army chief after a newspaper reported he sold his stock portfolio just before the outbreak of the war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz acknowledged selling $27,481 of stocks at noon July 12, three hours after Hezbollah attacked an Israeli patrol, killing three soldiers and abducting two. The Israeli government ordered a retaliation against Hezbollah later that day.

9:30 a.m.: Israeli warplanes dropped leaflets over south Lebanon Tuesday, warning residents not to return home before Lebanese and international troops deploy to the area. It was the first time Israeli leaflets fell over the south since a U.N. resolution prompted a halt to the fighting there.

8 a.m.: Italy will contribute up to 3,000 troops to a beefed-up U.N. peacekeeping force due to deploy in southern Lebanon to enforce a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said.


7:30 a.m.: Syria mustn't intervene in Lebanese affairs or try to use the Hezbollah militia to influence the Beirut government, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni said. Livni spoke a short time after Assad said U.S. hopes to build a "new Middle East" was an "illusion" that was shattered by Hezbollah's success in fighting Israel. Livni, speaking in northern Israel, said after the monthlong war against Hezbollah that Syria must "understand that Lebanon is taking off, or is at least meant to take off, in a different direction without them."

5:30 a.m.: Israel has 13 Hezbollah prisoners and the bodies of dozens of guerrillas that it could offer in exchange for two captive soldiers, military officials said.

5:30 a.m.: Syrian President Bashar Assad said that America's plan for a "new Middle East" has collapsed after Hezbollah's successes in fighting against Israel. Mr. Assad, speaking to a journalists' association, said the region had changed "because of the achievements of the resistance [Hezbollah]."

4:05 a.m.: An Iranian hard-line cleric warned Israel that Iran's 2,000-kilometer missiles will land in Tel Aviv if the Jewish state attacks Iran, state-run television reported. Ahmad Khatami, a middle-ranking cleric, said Israel should bear in mind its monthlong war with Lebanon's Hezbollah's guerrillas before threatening Iran.

3:20 a.m.: Israeli forces have withdrawn from the key town of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon and nearby areas, Lebanese security officials said.

2:35 a.m.: Israel plans to begin relinquishing captured positions and handing them over to the Lebanese army on Wednesday, army officials said. The military hopes to complete the evacuation of its forces from Lebanon by next week. The army said it had already begun thinning out its forces in Lebanon with the departure of a small number of troops.

Monday, Aug. 14

11:59 p.m.: Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two homemade rockets into Israel, the army said. There were no injuries. The rockets landed near the community of Nahal Oz, the army said.

10:55 p.m.: New Zealand is rushing diplomats to Israel to seek the release of two journalists -- a New Zealander and an American -- who were abducted by masked gunmen in Gaza City, Prime Minister Helen Clark said. Olaf Wiig, 36, and American reporter Steve Centanni, 60, were working for Fox News when they were abducted Monday. The men, along with a bodyguard, were parked near the headquarters of the Palestinian security services when two trucks filled with gunmen pulled up and boxed them in, according to a Fox News employee.

[Kofi Annan]

10:15 p.m.: Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent letters to Israel and Lebanon spelling out terms for the cease-fire that warn both sides against occupying additional territory or changing the number and location of troops.

10:15 p.m.: WSJ's Guy Chazan and Neil King Jr. report: Even as the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah appears to be largely holding, leaders on both sides seem to be preparing for the next round of fighting. More.4

10:00 p.m.: Israel's military said Hezbollah guerrillas fired at least 10 Katyusha rockets into southern Lebanon. None hit inside Israel and no injuries were reported.

6:45 p.m.: Where things stand. Tens of thousands of Lebanese jammed bomb-cratered roads Monday as they returned to still-smoldering scenes of destruction after a tenuous cease-fire ended 34 days of vicious combat between Israel and Hezbollah. In northern Israel, residents emerged from bomb shelters. The fighting left nearly 950 people dead -- 791 in Lebanon and 155 on the Israeli side, according to official counts. A U.N. force that now has 2,000 peacekeepers in south Lebanon is to grow to 15,000 troops, and Lebanon's army is to send in a 15,000-man contingent.

4:30 p.m.: Israel said it launched an airstrike against a building in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.


3:45 p.m.: President Bush defended the U.S. democracy push, saying the war between Israel and Hezbollah was "part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror." He blamed the recent conflict in Lebanon and Israel on Hezbollah and its "state sponsors" Iran and Syria. See the transcript5 of Bush's remarks and video6.

2:10 p.m.: Palestinian gunmen kidnapped two Fox News journalists in Gaza City, according to witnesses. CNN, citing information from Fox News' Jerusalem bureau, reported two trucks filled with gunmen boxed in the reporters' car near the Palestinian security headquarters and seized them, witnesses said.

1:25 p.m.: Nasrallah said that his Hezbollah guerrillas had achieved a "strategic, historic victory" against Israel. Nasrallah, speaking on the day a cease-fire took effect -- ending 34 days of brutal fighting between Hezbollah and Israel -- called Monday "a great day."

12 p.m.: Sweden invited 60 countries and aid agencies to a donors' conference aimed at helping Lebanon rebuild homes, roads and lives shattered by weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas. The U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Norway, Japan and the Gulf States were among those invited. Israel wasn't on the guest list.

10:20 a.m.: "It must be said honestly, there were many failures [in the conflict with Hezbollah], failures in identifying the threat, failures in preparing to meet the threat, failures in the management of the war, failures in the management of the home front," Israeli opposition leader Netanyahu said. "Without doubt we shall need later on to learn the lessons and fix the mistakes."


10:05 a.m.: Israeli soldiers in Lebanon killed six Hezbollah fighters in three skirmishes in Lebanon after the U.N.-imposed cease-fire took effect, the army said. Four militiamen were killed near the village of Hadatha in southern Lebanon after the group approached an Israeli position, the Israeli military reported. The encounter reportedly occurred less than three hours after the 8 a.m. cease-fire. Two other clashes occurred later Monday, with one guerrilla killed in each, the military said.

9:40 a.m.: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he takes sole responsibility for the offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. In a statement to parliament, Olmert said the U.N. cease-fire agreement that went into effect Monday morning eliminated the "state within a state'' run by Hezbollah and restored Lebanon's sovereignty in the south. He promised to do everything he could to win the return of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah in a cross-border raid July 12, which triggered the monthlong war. Olmert was to be followed in the Knesset by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.


8:40 a.m.: Olmert appointed a former deputy head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency to spearhead efforts to free Israeli soldiers captured by Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and by Palestinian militants. A statement from the prime minister's office named Ofer Dekel as the premier's "special representative regarding the return of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers' and said he would be assisted by "defense and government bodies."

7:50 a.m.: U.N. convoys of 24 trucks carrying drinking water, food, hygiene kits and other relief supplies are being shipped to Sidon, while other vehicles are loaded to be shipped to Jezzine, in central Lebanon, and to Arida and Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, said Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The U.N. also sent a nine-truck convoy to Tyre and 15 trucks to Rmeish in southern Lebanon.

[U.N. flag]

7:45 a.m.: A U.N. spokesman said Lebanese, Israeli and U.N. officials met on the Israel-Lebanon border to discuss Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon and the deployment of Lebanese troops.

7:40 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that barring isolated skirmishes with Hezbollah fighters, the cease-fire is holding, and could have implications for future relations with Israel's neighbors. He said Israeli troops in Lebanon "will remain on guard," adding that as a result of the war Islamic extremists have been weakened, opening a window for negotiations with Lebanon and for renewing talks with Palestinians.

7:20 a.m.: Israeli troops shot a Hezbollah fighter aiming his rifle at them, the army reported. The army said the man was shot and possibly killed in the clash around 1:30 p.m. near the village of Ghanduriya. The troops saw the gunman approach and aim his weapon, then shot him before he could open fire, the army said.


5:50 a.m.: Malaysia's foreign minister said he will travel to Lebanon with his counterparts from Pakistan and Qatar for talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora.

5:05 a.m.: Israeli troops near the Lebanese village of Hadatha opened fire on a group of armed Hezbollah fighters "approaching in a threatening way," the army said. One fighter was hit. The army said it did not know if the fighter had been killed or wounded, but said the Israelis "fired in self-defense."

4:40 a.m.: At least one child was killed and 15 people were wounded by ordnance that exploded as they returned to their homes in south Lebanon, security officials said. Lebanon's Interior Ministry issued a statement urging civilians to stay away from their homes until army engineers could inspect them for unexploded cluster bombs or artillery.

3:40 a.m.: The Israeli army said travel restrictions in Lebanon south of the Litani River remain in effect "for now."


3:30 a.m.: Israel said it came out ahead in the war with Lebanon and vowed to abide strictly by the U.N. cease-fire deal. "The situation on the ground is advantageous, the diplomatic situation is advantageous to Israel," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. He said Hezbollah's "state within a state" has been destroyed, as has its ability to fire at Israeli soldiers across the border. "Having the Hezbollah presence in the south destroyed, that's a major strategic plus for Israel."

2:55 a.m.: Thousands of cars flooded Lebanon's bombed out highways heading south within an hour of the cease-fire taking hold, and Lebanese army troops scrambled to repair roads in time for the deluge of refugees returning home.

2:20 a.m.: Three Palestinians, including a 17-year-old boy, were killed in an Israeli military strike near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian medical officials said. The military said it fired heavy guns at the area after three Palestinian militants launched two homemade rockets that hit the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon.

1:45 a.m.: The Israeli army said two more soldiers were killed in fighting in Lebanon, in addition to the five previously announced, bringing the army's weekend death toll to 31.

1:30 a.m.: Half an hour after the cease-fire took hold, Israeli warplanes -- a regular fixture in Lebanese skies during the monthlong war -- were absent across huge swaths of the country, including the Bekaa Valley, where airstrikes hit about an hour before. The air strikes continued until 15 minutes before the truce went into force, destroying an antenna for Hezbollah's al Manar television southeast of Beirut.

1:10 a.m.: The Israeli army will continue to enforce an air and sea blockade on Lebanon despite the cease-fire, a military official said. The embargo will remain in place until there is a system to oversee and prevent arms from reaching Hezbollah guerrillas, the official said.

1 a.m.: A cease-fire went into effect on the 34th day of warfare, and Israel ordered its troops to halt their offensive in south Lebanon.

12:50 a.m.: Israeli warplanes attacked a village in eastern Lebanon and the edge of a Palestinian refugee camp, leaving two people dead and nine wounded, security officials said. The latest raid on eastern Lebanon occurred 35 minutes before a cease-fire was to go into effect.

Week 5: Cease-Fire in Reach
August 13, 2006

Sunday, Aug. 13

11:30 p.m.: Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets on central Beirut, warning it will retaliate against any attack launched on it from Lebanon.

9:30 p.m.: The WSJ's Guy Chazan and Marc Champion report. Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah forced the U.S. to make significant compromises at the U.N. and looks likely to leave Bush policies in the region as well as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert damaged, according to diplomats and analysts. More1.


2:30 p.m.: Fierce fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops in southern Lebanon on Sunday killed five Israeli soldiers, the army said. One officer was killed when a mortar hit his tank, the other four were killed when an anti-tank missile hit an infantry force. At least 25 other soldiers were injured in the fighting.

12:50 p.m.: Israeli troops in southern Lebanon will hold their fire after a truce takes effect if Hezbollah guerrillas stop their attacks, a top Israeli general said. "If the terrorists stop their fire, than the [army] will halt its fire," said Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, the head of Israel's ground forces.

10:50 a.m.: A critical Lebanese cabinet meeting to discuss implementation of the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah was postponed, a move that was likely to delay the dispatch of the Lebanese army to the south and an end to the fighting.

10:30 a.m.: The number of Hezbollah rockets to hit northern Israel since fighting began more than a month ago surpassed 4,000, Israel Radio said. The army said it couldn't confirm the report, but police said more than 200 Hezbollah rockets fell on Israel on Sunday alone, including 15 in Haifa, Israel's third-largest city.

8:50 a.m.: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a cease-fire deal approved by the cabinet will bring about a "change in the rules of the game" between Israel and Lebanon, but added that Israel will withdraw from south Lebanon only when the Lebanese army and international forces deploy. Livni urged Siniora and the international community to implement a U.N. resolution calling for an end to the fighting and the mobilization of Lebanese troops backed by U.N. peacekeepers into south Lebanon.

7:49 a.m.: At least 20 huge explosions rattled Beirut over a two minute period, in what appeared to be shelling of south Beirut by Israeli warships anchored off the Lebanese coast. Television reports said the shells fell in the Dahiyeh suburb, a Hezbollah stronghold.


7:48 a.m.: Israel's Cabinet approved the U.N. cease-fire deal in a 24-0 vote, with one abstention. A heated debate erupted during the Cabinet session, with minister Ofir Pines-Paz criticizing the government's decision to order an expanded ground offensive in the days before the cease-fire is to take effect.

6:40 a.m.: Security guards at Olmert's office detected "suspicious material" in the shoes of an Arab man waiting to enter the building, a spokeswoman said. Sappers took the shoes and carried out a controlled explosion. Four loud booms were heard. However, it turned out to be a false alarm, Olmert's office said.

6:30 a.m.: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Israel's Cabinet that no army in the world could have succeeded in disarming Hezbollah by military means alone, according to participants. "A parallel diplomatic effort was required," she said. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said tough questions would have to be asked after the war. "The war exposed many issues, both regarding the fighting and the home front, that require review and drawing of conclusions," he said.

6:20 a.m.: Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos appealed to Filipino workers to flee from southern Lebanon despite a planned U.N. cease-fire, saying violent clashes could continue to flare up.


6 a.m.: Olmert praised the cease-fire deal, saying it will prevent a return to the status quo in which Hezbollah ran a state-within-a-state in south Lebanon, participants said. "It's a good decision," he told Israel's Cabinet.

5:55 a.m.: Israeli warplanes fired missiles into gasoline stations in Tyre. Huge fires could be seen near the al Bass Palestinian refugee camp north of Tyre and near the city's Najem hospital after the filling stations were hit. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the intense series of strikes. But at least nine people were killed in other air raids.

5:05 a.m.: The Israeli army reported the first female soldier killed in action in the conflict in Lebanon. Keren Tendler, 26, was killed Saturday along with four other Israeli soldiers when the transport helicopter they were riding in was shot down by Hezbollah guerrillas near the Lebanese village of Yater.

4:30 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas fired rockets at northern Israel, killing one person and injuring seven others. A rocket that directly hit a house in Shlomi killed one person and wounded two others. Five other people were hurt in other barrages, rescue services said.

3:35 a.m.: The Israeli government is ready to approve U.N. cease-fire deal and start observing cease-fire Monday morning, Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog said. "We view the Security Council resolution favorably," he said. "We will analyze it in the meeting today. We plan to approve the resolution and of course enter into a cease-fire by tomorrow morning."

3:15 a.m.: Olmert opened a Cabinet session to vote on the U.N. cease-fire deal, telling ministers he hoped two captured Israeli soldiers would be freed.


2:25 a.m.: Israel hopes the Lebanese army will deploy to south Lebanon as early as next week to allow Israeli soldiers to begin withdrawing, Israeli Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said. "The [U.N.] decision says that the soldiers will stay until the Lebanese army begins to deploy," he said. "We hope very much that within a week or two, we can see the Lebanese army moving south."

Saturday, Aug. 12

11:05 p.m.: The Israeli army said the five-man crew of a helicopter downed by Hezbollah guerillas was missing and feared dead.

10:45 p.m.: Israeli warplanes hit targets in Lebanon's northern and eastern regions near the border with Syria. Jets struck a bridge near Halba, local television reported. Planes also raided Ali Nahri. Israel said its warplanes have been attacking guerrilla targets and roads in an effort to choke off Hezbollah's supply lines.

10:15 p.m.: The Israeli army said 19 soldiers have been killed, and five are missing after its first day of expanded offensive.

8:10 p.m.: France, Italy, Turkey and Malaysia signaled willingness to send peacekeepers to a U.N. force in Lebanon, and consultations were expected to start quickly to hammer out the force's makeup and mandate.


7:30 p.m. Annan said a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel will take effect Monday morning, and urged the leaders of Lebanon and Israel to halt fighting immediately. "I am happy to announce that the two leaders [Siniora and Olmert] have agreed that the cessation of hostilities and the end of the fighting will enter into force on Aug. 14, at 0500 hours GMT," the statement said.

7:05 p.m.: Hezbollah reported a gunbattle was still raging as Israeli troops were trying to retrieve the casualties from the burning wreckage of a downed helicopter. Reports from some Arab media that several Israeli soldiers had been killed could not immediately be verified.

6:25 p.m.: A Lebanese soldier was killed overnight in an air raid near an army base in the Bekaa Valley, the army said.

5:50 p.m.: The Israeli army said four more soldiers were killed in fighting in southern Lebanon, bringing the toll of its expanded offensive to 11. The army has not released casualty figures for a helicopter downed by Hezbollah rockets, but said there were injuries.

5:46 p.m.: A Brazilian Air Force plane departed on a humanitarian mission to Lebanon carrying nine tons of food, blankets, medicine and other supplies, the foreign ministry said. The shipment, which includes some 2.5 tons of medicine, was expected to arrive in Beirut on Tuesday and could benefit many as 145,000 civilians.

[White House]

5:31 p.m.: Thousands of people gathered across from the White House, even though the president was out of town, to condemn U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East.

5:23 p.m.: Israel's offensive will cost the country more than $5.1 billion, a leading financial daily said. The sum is the combined cost of additional expenditure to fund the fighting and rebuild, together with an anticipated drop gross domestic product, The Marker said. The direct cost of the war is estimated at $2.7 billion, including $1.6 billion for added military expenditure and $1.1 billion to reimburse companies and citizens for damages, the paper reported, citing unnamed government sources.

4:17 p.m.: Nearly 100 Israeli soldiers were wounded in heavy fighting in Lebanon, the highest one-day injury toll of the monthlong war, Israel Radio reported. The military confirmed more than 70 soldiers were hurt. In addition, at least seven Israeli soldiers were killed Saturday, including two crushed in a tank accident.

3:35 p.m.: Hezbollah said its guerrillas shot down an Israeli military helicopter near the Lebanese village of Yater, and other helicopters scrambled to the area to try to rescue the crew. Israeli officials confirmed the incident.


3 p.m.: Siniora said the Lebanese government unanimously accepted a U.N. cease-fire resolution to stop the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

1:42 p.m.: Israel will halt its war in Lebanon at 7 a.m. on Monday, a senior Israeli government official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the sensitive matter with reporters.

1:09 p.m.: At least seven soldiers were killed in fierce fighting in southern Lebanon on the first day of a broad offensive before an expected cease-fire ends the war, the army said. The military said 11 more soldiers had suffered severe injuries. They were among about 60 soldiers evacuated from Lebanon to Israeli hospitals.

11:03 a.m.: A Hezbollah Cabinet minister said the militant group has reservations about the U.N. cease-fire resolution and called it unfair. Mohammed Fneish, the minister of hydrology, said the resolution was unfair because it didn't condemn "the aggressor."

10:27 a.m.: Hundreds of Israeli troops were flown to south Lebanon as part of Israel's expanded ground war, the military confirmed. Israeli forces hope to reach Lebanon's Litani River within four days, defense officials said.


9:13 a.m.: With a government vote on the U.N. cease-fire resolution hours away, Lebanon's prime minister said the plan to end fighting between Israel and Hezbollah served the country's interests. Siniora signaled that his Cabinet would approve the plan when it met later Saturday. "This resolution shows that the whole world stood by Lebanon," he said.

Friday, Aug. 11

8:15 p.m.: The WSJ's Guy Chazan, Marc Champion and Karby Leggett report. The U.N. resolution to halt the war between Israel and Hezbollah offers the best hope yet of a break in the monthlong hostilities. But the deal by no means guarantees a long-term solution; for one thing, it papers over a dispute about what kind of international force should patrol southern Lebanon and when Israeli troops should withdraw. More2.

8 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to approve a cease-fire proposal brokered by the U.S. and France that calls for an end to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanon and Israel, which will vote on the deal over the weekend, have signaled they would agree to the terms.

[UN article kofi tracker]
Annan at the U.N.

7:20 p.m.: Annan said: "War is not, I repeat, war is not the continuation of politics by other means … it represents a catastrophic failure…. Only political solutions will be sustainable in the long term." He pointed to Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan as "courageously bringing stability and peace" to borders that were previously beset with violence. Rice, speaking for the U.S., said Hezbollah now faces a choice between war and peace.

7:10 p.m.: Annan expressed disappointment that U.N. did not act sooner to end the hostilities, as death and dislocation of Lebanese and Israeli civilians continued.

7:05 p.m.: U.N. Security Council meeting is called to order.

Rice at the U.N.

6:25 p.m.: Secretary of State Rice said the Lebanese government and the Israelis were likely to accept the U.N. draft resolution. "We have heard from the government of Lebanon that they also believe that this is a resolution that can serve their interests," Rice told CNN. "In fact, the interests of both Israelis and Lebanese now is to end large-scale violence and to begin to lay a foundation for peace."

5:45 p.m.: An Israeli drone fired missiles Friday night into a convoy of refugees fleeing attacks in the southern town of Marjayoun, killing at least six people and wounding 16 others, said AP photographer Lutfallah Daher, who was with the convoy when it was hit. He said he counted six bodies that were taken to the morgue at the hospital in Jobb Jannine. Daher said there were reports that two other people were killed but that he was unable to confirm that.

5:30 p.m.: Where things stand: In a dramatic game of brinksmanship, Olmert has ordered an expanded ground war in Lebanon because of dissatisfaction over an emerging U.N. cease-fire deal, but later indicated he might be ready to accept an amended version. The fighting has killed more than 800 people -- including at least 732 Lebanese and 122 Israelis.

3:35 p.m.: A draft Security Council resolution circulated Friday would authorize the deployment of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers in south Lebanon to support Lebanon's deployment to the region "as Israel withdraws." The draft would ask the U.N. force to monitor a full cessation of hostilities and help Lebanese forces gain full control over an area that has previously been under de facto control of Hezbollah militias.

1:50 p.m.: Israel began an expanded ground offensive in southern Lebanon after expressing dissatisfaction over an emerging cease-fire deal, government officials said. The officials added, however, that the offensive could be called off quickly if Israel's basic demands are met when the U.N. Security Council votes on a proposed cease-fire arrangement later in the day.


11:20 a.m.: Olmert, dissatisfied with the emerging cease-fire deal, told his defense minister to get ready for a wider ground offensive in Lebanon, a senior Israeli official said.

10:40 a.m.: The U.S. and France were on the cusp of a deal on a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ending the conflict.

9:35 a.m.: Unesco called on Israel and Hezbollah to spare World Heritage sites that the agency says are under a "serious threat" from recent fighting in the region. "I solemnly request that all necessary measures be taken to safeguard and protect these cultural properties of inestimable value," Unesco Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said.

9:20 a.m.: Hezbollah renewed its rocket attacks on Israel, firing 40 by midafternoon, including barrages at the port city of Haifa, the town of Safed and elsewhere in northern Israel, police said.

8:10 a.m.: An Israeli military court has ordered an immediate medical exam for the Palestinian parliament speaker, who has complained of chest pains while in Israeli custody, his lawyer said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment. It said the speaker, Abdel Aziz Duaik, has been transferred from an army-run West Bank detention camp to an Israeli prison and is no longer under its jurisdiction.

8:00 a.m.: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch held talks with the Lebanese prime minister, who said afterward there was "slight" progress on a cease-fire plan to end the monthlong war between Israel and Hezbollah.

7:55 a.m.: Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded Hezbollah positions in attempts to gain unchallenged command of strategic high ground and disrupt guerrilla rocket attacks across the border. In far north Lebanon, Israeli jets blasted a key bridge to Syria and killed at least 12 people. The conflict for the first time touched the entire length of Lebanon -- from skirmishes on the Israeli border in the south to the airstrike on the northern frontier.

7:07 a.m.: U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland says the anger on all sides in the Middle East is the greatest he has seen in two decades of trying to help the troubled region make peace. "I've never seen nations as polarized as during this recent visit," said Egeland, who was in Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza strip at the end of July.


6:50 a.m.: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour told an emergency U.N. session on the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that delegates must also weigh offenses by Hezbollah. "Israeli attacks affecting civilians continue unabated," she said. "Also unrelenting is Hezbollah's indiscriminate shelling of densely populated centers in northern Israel which has brought death and destruction. There have also been repeated allegations of Hezbollah's systematic use of civilians as human shields."

6:25 a.m.: European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso appealed for an immediate end to the monthlong conflict and to allow humanitarian assistance to reach the civilian population in southern Lebanon.

4:15 a.m.: Israeli warplanes struck three vehicles near the eastern city of Baalbek, killing at least one person and wounding two others, security officials said. Witnesses said the vehicles were directly hit and caught fire.

3:50 a.m.: A poll published in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper showed 37% of the 500 people questioned believed Israel would cripple Hezbollah, compared with 40% in a previous survey. Seventeen% thought Israel would lose the war and Hezbollah would return to south Lebanon, up from 13% previously, said the poll conducted by the Dahaf organization. It had a margin of error of 4.5%. The percentage of people supporting a broad ground operation to push Hezbollah guerrillas beyond the range of short-range rockets fell to 64% from 73%, the poll said, indicating a growing public desire for diplomatic initiatives.

2 a.m.: U.N. peacekeepers were dispatched to evacuate about 350 Lebanese soldiers and police detained by Israeli forces in Marjayoun, security officials said. Two armored vehicles from the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, a 2,000-member peacekeeping force deployed in southern Lebanon, headed to the Lebanese city, which Israeli forces occupied on Thursday.

Thursday, Aug. 10

11:15 p.m.: Eight powerful explosions resounded across Beirut and local media reports said Israeli jets were pounding Hezbollah strongholds in the southern Dahieh suburb. The reports said a bridge was also hit in Akkar province, 60 miles north of Beirut. There was no immediate word of casualties.


1:40 p.m.: Israeli lawmaker and Olmert adviser Otniel Schneller, speaking on behalf of Olmert, said the U.N. was drafting a new resolution to try to end the fighting in Lebanon. "A new proposal is being drafted, which has positive significance that may bring the war to an end," he said. "But if the draft is not accepted there is the Cabinet decision."

1:30 p.m.: An Israeli soldier was killed in the Lebanese village of Qleia when Hezbollah guerrillas fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli tank there, the army said. Two others were wounded in the fighting, one seriously.

1:10 p.m.: Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said Israeli troops detained about 350 Lebanese soldiers and police in Marjayoun, after sweeping into the south Lebanese town before dawn Thursday. He said the head of the joint army-police force, Brig. Adnan Daoud, was among those detained. "We consider them to be captives," he added, saying negotiations were in progress to win their release.

10 a.m.: Hezbollah rockets struck suburban Haifa, but police said no injuries were reported. Israel's Channel Two had earlier reported that there were casualties in the attack on the country's third-largest city. The barrage came hours after a rocket attack hit an Israeli Arab village, killing a mother and her young daughter, and wounding two others.

9:45 a.m: Israel ordered the Gaza-Egypt border crossing closed just hours after it was partially opened due to specific threats. The crossing was to have been opened for two days to allow hundreds of people stuck in Gaza to leave after a weeks-long closure imposed during Israel's military offensive.

8:55 a.m.: Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema will travel Monday to Beirut for talks on the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, officials said. D'Alema has been involved in the intense international diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, and in his upcoming trip he hoped to "get direct information on the situation in the country," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


8:30 a.m.: If diplomacy fails, the Israeli army will use "all tools" to win the war against Hezbollah, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that if cease-fire efforts succeed, "we'll see the military operation as having created the diplomatic climate and a new situation."

7:45 a.m.: The U.N.'s top humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, criticized Israel and Hezbollah for hindering aid agencies' access to trapped civilians in southern Lebanon, calling it "a disgrace" their failure to allow convoys to get through.

6 a.m.: Hezbollah rockets hit an Israeli Arab village, killing two people, including an infant, and wounding two others, medics said. The rockets hit the village of Deir al Assad in northern Israel, the Magen David Adom rescue service said.

1:57 a.m.: The Gaza-Egypt border partially reopened, after weeks of closure during Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a spokeswoman for European border monitors said. The crossing was open for people traveling from Gaza into Egypt only, said spokeswoman Maria Telleria.

1:43 a.m.: Israeli Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson said he will ask the government for $650 million in cuts from the 2006 state budget to finance the cost of the fight against Hezbollah. The proposal will be brought before the cabinet for approval on Sunday. Announcing the planned cuts, Hirchson cited military estimates, saying that the four weeks of fighting had cost Israel some $1.6 billion so far.

12:47 a.m.: Israeli troops surrounded a five-story building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen inside, Palestinian security officials said. The troops arrived before dawn, surrounding the building and called on all the residents to come out. Several gunmen refused and then the gunfire erupted, the security officials said.

12:40 a.m.: After approving a major expansion of its ground offensive in Lebanon, Israel decided to put the plan on hold for two or three days to give another chance to international cease-fire efforts, senior officials said.

12:30 a.m.: Israeli troops, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, took the key south Lebanon town of Marjayoun just hours before a senior Israeli official announced that the military would hold off expanding its ground offensive to give diplomacy a chance.

12:12 a.m.: The WSJ's Guy Chazan and Karby Leggett report. An expansion of Israel's ground campaign into Lebanon could help it to end Hezbollah rocket strikes and to forge a clear victory over the heavily armed militia, but the shift -- an acknowledgment that a strategy of aerial bombardments and limited incursions failed -- carries serious risks for the combatants and the wider region. More3.

Wednesday, Aug. 9

3:45 p.m.: U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson said he joined hands with Olmert to pray for victory in Lebanon. Olmert's 15-minute meeting with Robertson came on an intense day of political activity for the Israeli leader, and could be seen as implicit recognition of the importance of the Christian right in U.S. politics.

2 p.m.: Nasrallah warned all Israeli Arabs to leave the port city of Haifa Hezbollah could step up attacks without fear of shedding the blood of fellow Muslims.

11:45 a.m.: The Israeli military will hold off on a wider ground offensive for two or three days to allow the U.N. Security Council to continue its debate for a cease-fire resolution.


10:15 a.m.: Israel's Olmert told a cabinet meeting a new diplomatic process would begin simultaneous to the military operation in southern Lebanon, a cabinet minister said. Olmert made the announcement after a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Rice. Olmert also said a new resolution to end the fighting would be drafted to try to address Lebanon's concerns.

9:15 a.m.: Israel's Security Cabinet approved a wider ground offensive in south Lebanon that was expected to take 30 days as part of a new push to badly damage Hezbollah.

8:25 a.m.: U.S. Ambassador Bolton and France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere were expected to continue their negotiations today and meet with three Arab envoys. "We're still pressing for a vote on a resolution as early as we can, but we've got to reach agreement, and there are still a lot of issues that need to be considered," Bolton said.


7:45 a.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said no progress had been made to end four weeks of fighting, adding that he didn't expect U.N. action in the next two days. He told reporters there were contacts on several fronts to end the violence but "there is nothing new so far."

7:20 a.m.: The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross has asked Israel to let an aid convoy cross from Israeli territory to Lebanon to help victims of Israel's bombings, the director of Israel's rescue services said.

6:41 a.m.: Kuwait's largest contracting company said it was setting up a nonprofit firm to rebuild the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital. In a full-page ad, the Al-Kharafi Group called on other Arab companies and investors to join the effort.

6:30 a.m.: Portugal granted an Israeli military cargo plane "exceptional" permission to make a refueling stop at a Portuguese airport last week, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Manuel Lobo Antunes told daily Diario de Noticias.


6:25 a.m.: Jacques Chirac says it appears the U.S. has "reservations" about adopting U.N. resolution on ending Mideast fighting. The French president also said that giving up on efforts to secure an immediate Mideast cease-fire would be the international community's "most immoral" possible response.

6:05 a.m.: The death toll from an Israeli airstrike on the Shiite neighborhood of Chiah in southern Beirut three days ago rose to at least 41, with 61 wounded, Lebanese security officials said.

6 a.m.: Italy could contribute up to 3,500 soldiers to an international force in southern Lebanon, but the peacekeepers should not be charged with combat duties or with disarming Hezbollah, Defense Undersecretary Giovanni Lorenzo Forcieri told daily L'Unita.

5:45 a.m: Israeli commandos landed in the village of Kharayeb around 4 a.m., searching three houses but not attacking their occupants, the Mayor Hatem Akkoush and security officials said. The troops left without taking any prisoners.

5:30 a.m.: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch made an unexpected visit to Beirut, where he held talks with the Lebanese prime minister, government officials said.

4:30 a.m.: Five Hezbollah rockets landed near a Palestinian town in the West Bank, but caused no casualties, Palestinian security officials said. The rockets landed nearlks with the Lebanese prime minister, government officials said.

4:30 a.m.: Five Hezbollah rockets landed near a Palestinian town in the West Bank, but caused no casualties, Palestinian security officials said. The rockets landed near the village of Arabani, which sits along the Israel-West Bank frontier, the officials said.


3:30 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops fought fierce overnight battles in south Lebanon, causing about 15 Israeli casualties, the army said. About 10 of the wounded are in light condition, the army said.

3 a.m: Israel's Security Cabinet convened for the expected approval of a broader ground offensive in Lebanon, with some ministers arguing that the military must deal more blows to Hezbollah before a Mideast cease-fire is imposed. However, a decision to send troops deeper into Lebanon was fraught with considerable risk. Israel would set itself up for new criticism that it is sabotaging diplomatic efforts.

2:15 a.m.: Israeli helicopters fired missiles at two houses in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, killing two Palestinians. Witnesses said they saw two bodies being removed from the buildings. Security officials said the two, Osama Attili and Mohammed Atik, were leaders of Islamic Jihad's military wing.

1:40 a.m.: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem, to urge Israel to accept the terms of a draft U.N. resolution that aims to end four weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. Steinmeier is on a three-day trip to the region with meetings scheduled with Lebanese and Israeli leaders.


1:40 a.m.: Israel's military chief appointed his deputy to oversee Israel's battles in Lebanon, sidelining the current commander in an unusual shakeup as Israel is expected to intensify its military campaign. The military announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinski in a statement. Israeli media linked it to apparent plans to broaden its ground offensive, as well as to mounting public criticism of the army's handling of the conflict with Hezbollah guerrillas.

1:15 a.m.: Israel's military struck Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, killing at least one person and wounding three others, officials said. Israeli airstrikes leveled a two-story building in the Bekka Valley town of Mashghara, east of Sidon, trapping five people from the same family under the rubble, residents said. Lebanese and Palestinian officials said an Israeli gunship shelled the Ein el-Hilweh camp, but Israel's military said the attack was an airstrike that targeted a house used by Hezbollah guerrillas.

Tuesday, Aug. 8

[Go to map.]4

11:45 p.m.: With the U.N.pushing to disarm the militant group Hezbollah, the U.S. and other countries have expressed confidence that Lebanon's army can handle the job with help from a multinational force. But Lebanese commanders believe the task could prove difficult. Lebanon's military is poorly equipped and fragmented along ethnic and religious lines. Its police force has 20,000 members, but fewer than half have guns or ammunition. Some of the weapons they use are World War II-era rifles. Lebanon's army, the other branch of its security forces, currently numbers about 40,000. Some of its tanks were produced in the 1940s, say senior army officers. And American-made helicopters it has purchased are one-engine models that are no longer legal to fly in the U.S. More5.

3:45 p.m.: In a private meeting, the U.S. and France considered two tentative proposals they hoped would both accommodate Lebanon's demands and revive diplomatic efforts to end the Israel-Hezbollah fighting. The discussions were held ahead of a Security Council meeting set for later today in which a delegation of three top Arab officials were to spell out their objections to the U.S.-French draft resolution.

3:35 p.m.: Jordan's King Abdullah II urged his country not to follow extremist slogans and thinking in the face of Mideast fighting. The monarch reiterated his condemnation of the "Israeli aggression" and pressed for an end to "these savage acts which are committed against the Lebanese children, women and old men."

3 p.m.: Israel declared a no-drive zone in the entire region south of Lebanon's Litani River -- 20 miles from the border -- warning residents that any vehicle on the roads would be destroyed on the assumption it was carrying Hezbollah rockets or supplies.

1:45 p.m.: Interactive Map6 has been updated.

10 a.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 643 people have been killed since the conflict began. Fifteen Hezbollah guerrillas were killed in skirmishes in the militant group's stronghold of Bint Jbail Tuesday, the Israeli military said. In Israel: At least 100 people have been killed. Some 90 Hezbollah rockets hit northern Israel by midafternoon, and a senior government official offered to pay to move up to 17,000 Israelis living in border towns. At least one Israeli soldier was killed in Bint Jbail fighting.


9:15 a.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora praised Hezbollah's resistance, but said it was time for Lebanon to "impose its full control, authority and presence" over the war-weary country.

9 a.m.: Hezbollah fired at least 90 rockets at towns and villages in northern Israel Tuesday, causing no casualties, Israeli police said. Of the 90 rockets that landed in Israel, 10 landed inside populated areas, said Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman.


7:30 a.m.: The new U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session this week in a move initiated by Muslim countries to condemn Israel for its military offensive in Lebanon, officials said. In a similar session last month, the council voted 29-11 to deplore Israel's military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

7 a.m.: Police in the U.K. said they arrested five people who said they searched a U.S. aircraft for weapons bound for Israel. The Trident Ploughshares group said activists boarded an Air National Guard plane at Prestwick airport near Glasgow, Scotland.


5:50 a.m.: "Yesterday I saw the tears of [Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad] Siniora. We all cry over our dead, whether in public or in private," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Israeli parliament in a speech outlining diplomatic efforts to end nearly four weeks of fighting. She was referring to Siniora's tearful speech to Arab foreign ministers in Beirut Monday, a day in which 49 Lebanese were killed, one of the deadliest days for the Lebanese. "This is the place to tell him to wipe away his tears and start working to create a better future, a more normal future for those civilians for whom he is crying," Ms. Livni said.

4:45 a.m.: Israel is studying Lebanon's offer to deploy some 15,000 Lebanese troops along the Israel-Lebanon border, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. Israel has long demanded a deployment of Lebanese forces, along with the disarming of Hezbollah guerrillas. However, it appeared Israeli leaders were reluctant to embrace Lebanon's offer more strongly because of concern it might be a ploy to get Israeli troops out of south Lebanon, without removing Hezbollah first.

2:55 a.m.: Israel will press ahead with its war on Hezbollah and is poised to occupy more areas of south Lebanon from which rockets are fired, Israel's defense minister said. Israel's Security Cabinet is to meet Wednesday to give final approval to a deeper push into Lebanon, to the Litani River some 18 miles north of the Israel-Lebanon border. Defense Minister Amir Peretz said he has asked the army to prepare for the next stage of the ground offensive. "I have instructed the army commanders to prepare for an operation to control all the launching sites," Peretz said.

1:55 a.m.: The Palestinian Parliament speaker, held by Israel, has been transferred from a military prison camp to a Jerusalem hospital after complaining of chest pains, the army said. Speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik, a leading Hamas official, was arrested by Israeli forces over the weekend, and is being held at the Ofer prison camp near the West Bank town of Ramallah. On Monday evening, he complained of dizziness and chest pains and was taken to Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Hospital for a checkup.

1:40 a.m.: Fierce fighting between Hezbollah guerillas and Israeli forces raged in at least two locations in south Lebanon, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding five, the Israeli army said. Clashes a few kilometers north of the Israeli border in Bint Jbail, in the southeast corner of Lebanon, resulted in the Israeli casualties. Fifteen Hezbollah guerrillas were also killed in the fighting, the Israeli military said.

1:20 a.m.: The Israeli government is offering some 17,000 Israelis to leave border downs for several days, a senior official said. In making the announcement, cabinet secretary Yisrael Maimon avoided the word "evacuation," saying instead that the residents were offered to leave the war zone for several days of recuperation. The government will pay for the stay of those leaving the border area.

1:15 a.m.: An Israeli cabinet minister dismissed as a "ploy" a proposal by Lebanon to deploy thousands of soldiers in south Lebanon, as part of a cease-fire deal. The remarks by cabinet minister Tzahi Hanegbi were the first comment by a senior Israeli official, following the offer by the Lebanese government Monday. Israel insists that a multinational force deploy on the Israel-Lebanon border. It wasn't immediately clear whether Hanegbi spoke for the government or expressed his personal views.

12:05 a.m.: The WSJ's Yochi J. Dreazen in Washington and Guy Chazan in Tel Aviv report. Arab objections delayed a United Nations vote on the Bush administration's Mideast cease-fire proposal until tomorrow at the earliest, further slowing efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the violence. More7.

Monday, Aug. 7

5 p.m.: An Israeli government official on Monday cautiously welcomed the Lebanese government's plans to send 15,000 soldiers to southern Lebanon as soon as Israeli troops withdraw. "This in principle is something we embrace and support," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told CNN.

4:55 p.m.: Israel's army released a video purporting to show the interrogation of a Hezbollah fighter acknowledging his part in the raid on an Israeli army post July 12 – which ignited the current conflict. In the video, Hussein Ali Suleiman, 22, said the seizure of two Israelis from the outpost was the second time he had taken part in such an attempt, following an unsuccessful raid in 2005. He also spoke about training in Iran. The tape shown on Israeli television appeared to be heavily edited, and some answers were cut off in mid-sentence. He appeared to have light bruises or wounds on his cheeks and lips.

3:40 p.m.: Interactive Map8 has been updated.

1:45 p.m.: The Lebanese army called up reserve soldiers in a move apparently linked to a possible deployment of about 15,000 troops on the border with Israel to end more than four weeks of fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli forces.

1:20 p.m.: Lebanese security officials said that Israel naval artillery fired on southern suburbs of Beirut from ships off the Mediterranean coast, where they also are enforcing a sea blockade.


1 p.m.: The Israeli air force shot down a Hezbollah spy drone over Israeli territory, the army said, without providing further details. In November 2004 Hezbollah sent its first ever drone, named "Mirsad 1" over Israel, where it flew around for some 20 minutes while filming. Earlier, Israeli commandos landed on a southern hilltop near Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, fighting Hezbollah in close combat in a bid to destroy its rocket launchers.

11:30 a.m.: The Lebanese prime minister said one person was killed in an Israeli air raid on the southern border village of Houla, lowering the death toll from 40. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said at a news conference that he had based the initial tally on unspecified information that he had received. He offered no other explanation for the error.

10:45 a.m.: Arab foreign ministers decided to send a delegation to the United Nations to represent Lebanon's interests at the Security Council, an aide to Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said. The three-man delegation will leave for New York later Monday and include the foreign ministers of Qatar, the only Arab member on the Security Council, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.


10:15 a.m.: Bush said he recognizes that Israel and Hezbollah are objecting to parts of a Mideast cease-fire resolution but said "we all recognize that the violence must stop." In Crawford, Texas, the president said the U.S. and its allies were pressing for a comprehensive solution that would restore Lebanon's sovereignty and provide a lasting peace.


10 a.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 651 people have been killed since the conflict began, including 524 civilians, 29 Lebanese soldiers and at least 53 Hezbollah guerrillas. Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed Beirut's southern suburbs and pounded other areas of Lebanon, putting Monday's death toll to 60. In Israel: At least 94 people have been killed, including 46 soldiers, 12 reservists and 36 civilians. In northern Israel, scores of Hezbollah rockets wounded five people on Monday.

9:40 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minster Amir Peretz said he has ordered the army to step up the offensive against Hezbollah rocket launching sites in Lebanon if the diplomatic process remains inconclusive. Speaking to the top parliamentary committee on security affairs, Peretz said in the absence of a diplomatic agreement, he has instructed the army to "take control" of launching sites "wherever they are to minimize the fire of Katyasha rockets and take the Israeli people out of the shelters."

9 a.m.: Relief agencies said it was too dangerous for them to try to deliver aid to villages in southern Lebanon where they are concerned about people cut off by fighting.

7:55 a.m: The Lebanese prime minister told Arab foreign ministers that an Israeli attack has killed more than 40 people in the village of Houla.


7:15 a.m.: Prime Minister Siniora expressed a new willingness to quickly deploy Lebanese troops in the south to bring a halt in Israeli-Hezbollah fighting as he and Arab foreign ministers pressed for changes in a U.S.-French peace plan.

7:10 a.m.: Palestinians launched an investigation after seven people were hospitalized when one of them opened a suspicious envelope addressed to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, officials said. The Palestinian cabinet building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the envelope was delivered, was evacuated, said Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer. The envelope contained an orange tissue that emitted a strong smell, said Shaer's office manager, who opened the mail.

6:05 a.m.: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said that Arab foreign ministers meeting in Beirut would discuss the possibility of holding an emergency summit on Lebanon later this week. Local media outlets had quoted Saudi sources as saying Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was expected to make the call for a summit during Monday's ministerial meeting in Beirut.

5:55 a.m.: Pakistan's president urged the United Nations secretary-general to help stop the Israeli "aggression" in Lebanon, saying a delay in a cease-fire would worsen the situation in Lebanon. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf spoke by telephone with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and "called for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon" and for Israel to remove its troops from there, state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported.

5:20 a.m.: Israeli airstrikes on Beirut's southern suburbs and Lebanon's southern and eastern regions Monday morning killed at least 15 people.

4:25 a.m.: A wave of Hezbollah rockets hit northern Israel, wounding two people, rescue officials said. Explosions could be heard in the town of Kiryat Shemona.


4:05 a.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with top defense officials to discuss the possibility of expanding Israel's 27-day-old offensive in southern Lebanon, Israeli officials said. No decision on whether to intensify the operation was made, the officials said.

4:05 a.m.: A senior German official said he wouldn't favor a "directly military" role for Berlin in an international force in Lebanon, citing the weight of his country's history, according to an interview. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week that he would favor German participation. However, German officials -- mindful of the Nazi-era past -- have trodden carefully, saying Germany can't consider a contribution until a U.N. mandate is in place.

3:05 a.m.: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez renewed his criticism of Israel's military offensive in Lebanon, calling it a "new Holocaust." Chavez's comments in his weekly radio and TV broadcast came three days after he said he was recalling Venezuela's top diplomat to Israel to express his government's indignation over Israeli attacks in Lebanon and its actions toward Palestinians.

1:50 a.m.: The U.S. and France are expected to circulate before the U.N. Security Council a new draft resolution aimed at ending the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah that takes into account suggestions from Arab states. Those demands -- from Lebanon and Qatar, the only Arab nation on the council, and other nations -- include a call for Israeli forces to pull out of Lebanon once the fighting stops and hand over their positions to U.N. peacekeepers, the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel, and steps to resolve a dispute over the Chebaa Farms area on the Israeli-Lebanon-Syria border.

12 a.m.: WSJ's Neil King Jr. and Jay Solomon report: The White House defended a UN measure meant to halt the 26-day battle between Israel and Hezbollah, despite criticism by Lebanese officials that the proposal was too favorable to Israel and wouldn't ensure an end to the fighting.

Week 4: Barrage of Rockets
August 6, 2006

Sunday, Aug. 6

10:40 p.m.: Israeli warplanes attacked Beirut's southern suburbs, renewing bombardment of the Hezbollah stronghold a day after guerrilla rockets killed 15 Israelis in northern Israel.

[Go to map.]1

6 p.m.: Interactive Map2 has been updated.

4 p.m.: Israeli warplanes attacked the Lebanese town of Qana and destroyed the launchers that fired rockets on Haifa that killed three people, the army said. The airstrike, less than three hours after the rockets slammed into Israel's third largest city, demolished the launchers, the army said.

3:15 p.m.: Haifa death toll is put at three, with more than 40 injured.

1:10 p.m.: A barrage of Hezbollah rockets rained on the port city of Haifa, injuring dozens of people, in the heaviest attack on Israel's third largest city since fighting with the Lebanese-based militia began nearly four weeks ago. Emergency services confirmed an unidentified number of people had been injured and were being sent to several hospitals. Initial reports by Israeli media indicated the casualty toll would be high.


10:30 a.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 591 people have died since the conflict began, including 507 civilians, 34 members of the army and 50 guerrillas acknowledged dead by Hezbollah. The Israeli military says it has killed more than 400 Hezbollah guerrillas since the fighting began. Israeli bombardment killed 17 people in southern Lebanon Sunday. In Israel: At least 90 Israelis have been killed so far, 44 of them killed by rocket attacks and the rest soldiers killed in the fighting. Hezbollah guerrillas unleashed their deadliest barrage of rockets yet into northern Israel Sunday, killing 11 people.

9:40 a.m.: The Syrian foreign minister declared the U.S.-French cease-fire plan was "a recipe for the continuation of the war." Walid Moallem, on his first visit to Lebanon since Damascus ended a 29-year military presence in its smaller neighbor last year, also said an end to fighting required the full withdrawal of Israeli troops before Hezbollah would stop fighting. In a bit of saber-rattling, the former Syrian envoy to Washington said his armed forces were under orders to respond immediately if Israel attacked.


9:15 a.m.: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said at a news conference that she hopes for a vote on the U.S.-French-backed Security Council resolution in the next day or two. "I would hope that you would see very early on an end to large-scale violence," she said. "We will see who is for peace and who isn't."

7:40 a.m.: Israeli soldiers arrested one of the Hezbollah guerrillas involved in the July 12 raid that led to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and sparked fighting between Israel and the militant group, the army said. The guerrilla was captured in Lebanon, and under interrogation it became apparent that he was involved in that cross border raid more than three weeks ago, the army said.

7:25 a.m.: Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah negotiator, said the U.S.-French draft U.N. cease-fire resolution isn't in Lebanon's interests and would be rejected by all Lebanese people unless it included the government's plan for ending the fighting.

7:10 a.m.: Three Chinese members of a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon were lightly injured when a mortar round fired by Hezbollah hit their headquarters south of Tyre, U.N. spokesman Milos Struger said. The three received medical treatment and were in stable condition.


6:50 a.m.: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem made a surprise visit to Beirut to meet with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Mr. Berri. It was the first visit by a top Syrian official since Damascus ended 29 years of military presence in Lebanon last year.

5:16 a.m.: Hezbollah fired a barrage of rockets at Kiryat Shemona and other towns in northern Israel, killing at least 10 people, rescue services said. The attack, which lasted more than 15 minutes, left more than 14 wounded. One of the rockets hit Kfar Giladi, causing many injuries and deaths, rescue officials said. Army Radio said a synagogue was also hit and one rescue service reported at least two rockets directly hit homes.

5:15 a.m.: Television stations in Tyre said the Lebanese army had closed the road from Tyre south to Naqoura, because of heavy bombardment. Aid organizations also warned that travel even within the city of Tyre could be dangerous.

4:25 a.m.: Three people were killed in the Lebanese town of Naqoura, al Jazeera television reported. Security officials could confirm just one person killed there.

4:20 a.m.: Hezbollah's al Manar television ran an urgent statement from the group saying guerrillas forced Israeli troops to retreat from the border village of Adaisse. Two Israeli tanks and two bulldozers were destroyed, and their crews were either killed or wounded, it said.

3:40 a.m.: Witnesses reported intense shelling in the Lebanese village of Houla, and in villages along the Litani River, which runs east-west across south Lebanon.

2:50 a.m.: Where things stand. At least 660 people have been reported killed in Lebanon and Israel since fighting broke out July 12. Lebanon: At least 575 have been killed -- including 497 civilians confirmed dead by the Health Ministry, 28 Lebanese soldiers and at least 50 Hezbollah guerrillas. The Lebanese government's Higher Relief Council said 933 Lebanese had been killed in the conflict. The Israeli military said more than 400 Hezbollah guerrillas have been killed. Israel: Seventy-eight Israelis have been killed, including 46 members of the military and 33 civilians, according to authorities.


1 a.m.: An Israeli Cabinet minister said Israel will continue to attack Hezbollah militants in south Lebanon, despite an agreement on a draft U.N. resolution to end fighting. "Even if it is passed, it is doubtful that Hezbollah will honor the resolution and halt its fire," Haim Ramon told Army Radio. "Therefore we have to continue fighting, continue hitting anyone we can hit in Hezbollah, and I assume that as long as that goes on, Israel's position, diplomatically and militarily, will improve."

12:45 a.m.: Hundreds of Indonesians protested in at least three cities against Israel's attacks on Lebanon, calling Israel a terrorist state and urging it to stop. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has had near-daily rallies against Israel since it began its offensive against Hezbollah.

12:20 a.m.: Five people were killed at daybreak when Israeli aircraft bombed a house in Ansar, Lebanese security officials and Arab media said. The security officials, who declined to be identified because they are not authorized to talk to the media, said the five were a man named Ibrahim Asie and members of his family. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Asie had relations with to Hezbollah.

Saturday, Aug. 5

11:15 p.m.: Two reserve soldiers were killed in fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, the Israeli military said. They were the first reserves to be killed in the Israeli offensive.

10:30 p.m.: A top Saudi Sunni cleric, whose ideas inspired Osama bin Laden, issued a religious edict disavowing the Shiite guerrilla group Hezbollah. "Don't pray for Hezbollah," said Sheik Safar al Hawali in the fatwa posted on his Web site. The edict reflects the historical stand of strict Wahhabi doctrine viewing Shiite Muslims as heretics, and follows a similar fatwa from another popular Saudi cleric, Sheik Abdullah bin Jibreen, not to support Hezbolllah.

8:45 p.m.: The Israeli military said late Saturday it had killed more than 400 Hezbollah guerrillas since the fighting began.

5:27 p.m.: Palestinian officials said Israeli forces arrested the speaker of the Palestinian parliament at his house early Sunday. The officials -- the director of the speaker's office and security officers -- said about 20 Israeli army vehicles surrounded the house of parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik, a member of Hamas, and took him into custody. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

5:05 p.m.: Israel resumed airstrikes on Hezbollah strongholds in south Beirut and for the first time struck in the Christian heartland north of the capital, rocketing bridges and severing the last major road link to Syria and the outside world.

4 p.m.: Thousands of people marched in Britain, South Africa and Egypt to protest the Israeli offensive in Lebanon. Protesters in Cairo demanded that Egyptian authorities let them fight in Lebanon with Hezbollah militants battling Israeli forces. Police in London said 20,000 people joined a march past the U.S. Embassy to Parliament. Organizers put the turnout at more than 100,000. In South Africa, thousands marched through Cape Town to Parliament to demand sanctions against Israel.

3:30 p.m.: Italy's foreign minister said the agreement on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution was a step in the right direction for a sustainable cease-fire. Minister Massimo D'Alema "expresses appreciation for the news" about the draft, the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Mr. D'Alema led a July 26 conference in Rome about Lebanon, attended by U.S. Secretary of State Rice and other diplomats, that failed to reach an accord on requests for calls for an immediate cease-fire.

3 p.m.: More than 3,000 Hezbollah rockets have hit northern Israel in more than three weeks of fighting, the Israeli army said. The guerrillas fired 170 rockets into Israel on Saturday.

1:45 p.m.: Israeli Cabinet minister Isaac Herzog praised the draft U.N. Security Council as an "important development" but says the military will keep up its strikes in coming days.

[George W. Bush]

1:15 pm: White House spokesman Tony Snow said that President Bush has approved the U.N. Security resolution developed with France, CNN reported.

12 p.m.: A Hezbollah Cabinet minister said the guerrillas will continue fighting as long as Israeli troops remain in Lebanon. "We abide by it on condition that no Israeli soldier remains inside Lebanese land. If they stay, we will not abide by it," Mohammed Fneish said when asked whether Hezbollah would stop fighting under a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire.


10:20 a.m.: The U.S. ambassador said the U.S. and France have agreed on a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ending the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.S.-French draft resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities," but allows Israel to respond to Hezbollah attacks.

10 a.m.: A Hezbollah rocket hit a house in northern Israel, killing three Israelis, medics said. The rockets fell in the western Galilee region, Eli Bein, a spokesman for the Magen David Adom rescue service, told Israel TV's Channel 10.

9:30 a.m.: Hezbollah launched a coordinated barrage of rockets into northern Israel, hitting towns from the Mediterranean coast in the west to the town of Kiryat Shemona in the east, police said, adding that there were no immediate reports of any serious injuries. Police said that a total of 45 rockets slammed into Israel during the day, the great majority of them in a concerted attack at 4 p.m. local time.

8 a.m.: The Israeli military said it dropped leaflets over Lebanon's third-largest city, Sidon, Saturday, asking residents to leave their homes and move north. The army said the leaflet dropping was a precursor to Israeli attacks on Hezbollah targets and an attempt to minimize civilian casualties.

12:04 a.m.: Israel pressed ahead with its incursion into the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday as airstrikes killed four Palestinians, including a mother and her two children, and tanks rolled to the edge of Rafah, officials said.

Friday, Aug. 4

11:38 p.m.: WSJ's Mariam Fam reports. Israel's pummeling to some extent has unified Lebanon's myriad sectarian and religious groups. But it also is putting enormous pressure on the delicate relationships that bind them. More.3

6:10 p.m.: An Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza town of Rafah killed at least two Palestinians, officials said. The Israeli army said its aircraft fired at several armed Palestinians. The two dead were a woman in her 60s and her son, said Ali Musa, the director of the local hospital.

[Go to map.]4

6 p.m.: Interactive Map5 has been updated.

5:25 p.m.: Israel denied it launched airstrikes on two villages in south Lebanon that flattened two houses, and reportedly buried 57 people in the rubble. Israeli army spokesman Capt. Jacob Dallal said the air force didn't have targets in those villages, Aita al-Shaab and Taibeh.

[Tony Blair]

5:20 p.m.: British Prime Minister Tony Blair postponed his summer vacation to stay in London and help develop a U.N. resolution on the Mideast crisis. Blair believes the coming days are crucial for securing agreement on a resolution to end three weeks of warfare between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, a spokeswoman said.

3:45 p.m.: Tens of thousands of Shiites thronged a Baghdad slum to show support for Hezbollah as Arab anger toward Israel mounted on the Muslim holy day. Such protests have even reached Saudi Arabia, where public discontent is rare. Sunni Muslim demonstrators also took to the streets of Damascus, Cairo and Amman.

3:15 p.m.: Cuba's foreign ministry condemned the Israeli bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana earlier this week, in the government's first official announcement since it said Fidel Castro was temporarily ceding power to his younger brother Raul. The ministry called the bombing "cowardly, vile and criminal," called for an immediate cease-fire and urged the world to force Israel to stop its attacks.

2:45 p.m.: Three Hezbollah rockets hit near the Israeli town of Hadera, about 50 miles south of the Lebanon border, police said. It's the furthest south the rockets have hit so far. No casualties were reported.

2:15 p.m.: Business update. Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Citigroup are among the multinational companies with operations in the Mideast war zone that say they have taken steps to ensure the safety of their staffs while trying to keep offices in the region humming. See a rundown6 of companies' contingency plans.

2 p.m.: Arab television channels showed videotape of Lebanese soldiers and orange-garbed rescue workers hauling bodies out of the ruins of a refrigerated warehouse hit by four Israeli missiles earlier the day. Many of the victims were dismembered and their bodies appeared scorched. Some of the corpses were laid out in rows, covered with heavy blankets. The nearby orchard was badly damaged; crates of fruit laid in a jumble nearby. At least 28 people died, according to officials at the Syrian hospitals where the dead and wounded were taken.

1:55 p.m.: Italian Prime Minister Prodi told an Egyptian daily that the crisis in the Middle East cannot be resolved without direct talks with Iran, according to a transcript of the interview released by Prodi's office.

1 p.m.: The U.S. and France are nearing completion of a U.N. resolution designed to halt the fighting, the State Department said, but added that U.N. deliberations aren't likely until next week. "We are very close to a final draft with the French on a text," the department's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said. The work will continue in Washington and in Texas over the weekend, when Secretary of State Rice will be a guest of President Bush at his ranch.

12:55 p.m.: Israeli airstrikes on two villages in south Lebanon flattened two houses, and 57 people were reported buried in the rubble, security officials and the state news agency reported. The number of dead wasn't immediately known. The warplanes hit Taibeh, about 5 kilometers from the Israeli border, destroying a house where 17 people had taken refuge. The second attack flattened a building in Aita al-Shaab, 2 kilometers inside Lebanon. Fifty people were reported covered in the rubble there.

12:45 p.m.: The U.S. and France negotiated under strict secrecy for another day over a Security Council resolution that seeks to end Israeli-Hezbollah fighting. Security Council diplomats said one crucial sticking point was the timing of a halt to the fighting. France, reflecting wide international opinion, wants an immediate stop in the violence. But the U.S. doesn't want a halt without other steps first, such as the deployment of peacekeepers.


11 a.m.: New CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses8 the Israeli-Lebanon crisis.

9:35 a.m.: Where things stand. Lebanon: Israel's pounding of Hezbollah positions expanded. Missiles targeted bridges north of Beirut for the first time, and four civilians were killed there, the Lebanese Red Cross said. A Lebanese soldier and four civilians were killed in air raids near Beirut's airport and southern suburbs, security officials and witnesses said. An AP count shows at least 530 Lebanese have been killed, including 454 civilians, 26 Lebanese soldiers and 50 Hezbollah guerrillas. Israel: Hezbollah guerrillas hammered northern Israel with a barrage of around 120 rockets, killing two Israeli women, Israeli police said. In all, 70 Israelis have been killed: 42 soldiers and 27 civilians.

9:30 a.m.: An Israeli missile slammed into farm workers loading vegetables into a refrigerator truck near the Lebanon-Syria border, killing or wounding as many as 40 people, the workers' foreman said. The Lebanese and Kurdish farm laborers were working in a strip of no-man's land along Lebanon's northeastern border with Syria, foreman Rabei al-Jabali said. He said 40 casualties were taken to a hospital in Syria, because roads in Lebanon were cut off by Israeli airstrikes earlier Friday.

7:55 a.m.: A Hezbollah-fired anti-tank missile killed two soldiers and wounded two others in southern Lebanon Friday, the army said. The soldiers were killed in heavy fighting in a village in eastern Lebanon, from where the army said Hezbollah was launching rockets at Israel.


7:20 a.m.: An EU official voiced concern over Israel's bombing of Lebanon's main north-south highway, which was being used as a main corridor for international aid into the country. "What we considered a safe corridor has been bombed, so that road going to the north is not safe anymore," said EU spokesman Pietro Petrucci.

7 a.m.: Israel is waging a "war of starvation" on Lebanese civilians in an effort to force the Lebanese government to agree to Israel's demands, Lebanese President Lahoud said in a statement Friday. His comments came after Israeli warplanes bombed bridges and roads in Christian neighborhoods north of Beirut, killing five civilians and making travel between suburbs increasingly difficult.

[ap bridge sm]
Motorists gathered at the destroyed Halat bridge, which links Beirut to northern Lebanon, after Israeli airstrikes.

12:30 a.m.: Israel pounded Hezbollah's southern Beirut strongholds with missiles and, in a sharp expansion of its bombing of Lebanon, blasted highway bridges for the first time in the Christian heartland north of the capital during morning rush hour. Four civilians were killed and 10 wounded in the airstrikes on bridges north of Beirut early morning, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

12 a.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion reports. U.S. and French differences over Lebanon echo the dispute before the Iraq invasion, but diplomats are confident in a U.N. resolution. More.9 WSJ's Peter Waldman reports. Academic Vali Nasr has gone further than most in identifying the "Shiite revival" as a central force dividing the Mideast. He also frames a possible U.S. response: Engage Iran. More.10

Thursday, Aug. 3

11:45 p.m.: Dozens of Israeli tanks pushed deep into the Gaza Strip and aircraft fired missiles at Palestinian militants, killing eight people in heavy fighting that mirrored the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. Two more Palestinians were killed at daybreak Friday, hospital officials said, apparently by a tank shell fired at their house.

5:45 p.m.: France and the U.S. stepped up negotiations on a possible resolution to the Mideast crisis. France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere told reporters he wasn't as optimistic as he was Wednesday about the adoption of a resolution in the coming days though he said "real progress" has been made. He expressed hope in further negotiations with U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

5 p.m.: Israeli warplanes struck again in eastern Lebanon this evening, firing two rockets at a house in Baalbek. One woman died and three people were wounded, officials said. Israeli jets, meanwhile, dropped leaflets over south Beirut warning residents to evacuate three Shiite neighborhoods, a possible prelude to more air attacks, security officials said.

2:20 p.m.: Updated photos11 posted.


2:10 p.m.: The U.S. plans to help train and equip the Lebanese army so it can take control of all of its territory when the warfare between Israel and Hezbollah eases, the State Department said. The program was approved by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to take effect "once we have conditions on the ground permitting," said department spokesman Sean McCormack.

1:50 p.m.: Hezbollah's leader has offered in a taped televised speech to stop firing rockets on Israel if Israel halts attacks on Lebanese towns.

1:15 p.m.: Defense Minister Amir Peretz told top army officers Thursday to begin preparing to push Israeli control 18 miles into south Lebanon to the Litani River, senior military officials said.


1 p.m.: Where things stand. Israel: At least 132 rockets hit the Jewish state Thursday, with 100 hitting northern Israel in a matter of minutes. Israel's death toll in the conflict stood at 67, with 41 soldiers killed in fighting and 26 civilians in rocket attacks. Lebanon: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said more than 900 people had been killed and 3,000 wounded, but he did not say whether the new figure -- up from 520 confirmed dead -- included people missing. Six Israeli army brigades, or roughly 10,000 troops, are fighting in south Lebanon against several hundred Hezbollah guerrillas.

[Go to map.]12

12:30 p.m.: Interactive Map13 has been updated.

9:45 a.m.: Two Israeli soldiers were killed in Lebanon when an antitank rocket hit their tank in during combat, the army said. Another soldier was seriously wounded.

9:25 a.m.: Hezbollah's chief spokesman says his group won't agree to a cease-fire until all Israeli troops leave Lebanon. "Declaring a cease-fire is not the concern of the people of Lebanon as long as there is one Israeli soldier on Lebanese soil -- even one meter (into Lebanon)," Hussein Rahal told al Jazeera television. "We will not accept any (Israeli) soldier staying on Lebanese territory, and it is the right of every Lebanese to fight until liberation."

[Tony Blair]

7 a.m.: Tony Blair said he hopes to see an agreement within days on a U.N. resolution to bring an end to Mideast fighting. The United Kingdom prime minister defended his refusal to call for an unconditional, immediate cease-fire, saying he was moved by the suffering of those affected by the fighting but was determined to forge what he called a durable peace.

6:20 a.m.: Hundreds of followers of a radical Iraqi Shiite cleric joined a pro-Lebanon rally in Baghdad.

6 a.m.: Iran's president said the solution to Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel, state-media reported. "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate ceasefire must be implemented," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

5:30 a.m.: The Israeli army said its soldiers have taken up positions in or near 11 towns and villages across south Lebanon, creating a zone that reaches from the Mediterranean coast in the west to the Galilee Panhandle in the east. Most of the villages are close to the Israel-Lebanon border. However, scores of tanks pushed even further north, controlling open areas from higher ground, security officials said.

5:20 a.m.: Israeli warplanes struck a house in the Lebanese village of Qleia, apparently targeting suspected sites from where Hezbollah guerrillas have been firing rockets into Israel.

5:10 a.m.: China's Foreign Ministry told Chinese nationals to leave Israel due to fighting on the Lebanese border, the government's Xinhua News Agency reported.

5 a.m.: Jordan's King Abdullah II said he was "enraged" by the war on Lebanon and that prolonged fighting has "weakened" moderates in the Mideast. The king proposed an immediate cease-fire followed by diplomacy to "deal with the crisis from its roots."


4:30 a.m.: Lebanon's death toll has reached more than 900, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said in a statement to participants at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Muslim world's largest political group. "Over 900 [have been] killed and 3,000 injured so far, one third of the casualties are children under 12," Mr. Siniora said.

[Oil barrels]

4 a.m.: Saudi Arabia has ruled out using oil as a weapon if the conflict between Israel and Lebanon escalates, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said, the official Saudi Press Agency reported early Thursday.

1:30 a.m.: The Organization of the Islamic Conference demanded an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon and a role for Muslims in a U.N. peacekeeping force, stressing that a slow end to Israel's warfare would radicalize Muslims everywhere.

1:05 a.m.: The Israeli army said a tank had been lightly hit in clashes with Hezbollah in the Lebanese town of Taibeh but that there were no casualties or serious damage. Hezbollah said its guerrillas destroyed one tank and two bulldozers, killing or wounding its crew members.

1 a.m.: An Israeli missile slammed into a house in Taibeh in the early morning, killing a family of three, Lebanese security officials said. More than an hour after the strike, the Lebanese Red Cross was unable to reach the border town to pull out the bodies, because of fierce fighting in the village, witnesses said.

Wednesday, Aug. 2


11 p.m.: WSJ's Karby Leggett and Jay Solomon report. The Middle East war intensified as Hezbollah fired more than 200 rockets into Israel, some hitting as far south as the West Bank. Israeli troops, meanwhile, made their deepest penetration into Lebanon, snatching Hezbollah operatives stationed in the Bekaa Valley, near Syria. A look at how Hezbollah has developed as a military and political force shows why Israel has been having a more difficult time than it expected in driving the group out of southern Lebanon. And it also shows how tough the road will be to permanently disarming Hezbollah and promoting long-term stability in Lebanon. More14.

9:30 p.m.: WSJ's Karby Leggett reports. As Israel and Hezbollah engage in expanding ground combat in Lebanon, they are also battling, in a region now saturated with satellite television and Internet access, to secure their image as the Middle East's most fearsome force. How the two sides fare will shape the perception of victor and vanquished in the postwar period. It will also help decide if the crown jewel of Israeli military doctrine -- deterrence by way of overwhelming military force -- emerges from the conflict intact, or if Hezbollah manages to raise doubts about that. More15.

7:55 p.m.: Israel renewed air strikes against Hezbollah strongholds in the battered outskirts of Beirut in the early morning. Witnesses said at least three explosions reverberated through Beirut after missiles hit Dahieh, a Shiite Muslim suburb that has been repeatedly shelled by Israel since fighting began three weeks ago.

6:50 p.m.: One Israeli soldier was killed and four wounded in heaving fighting around the south Lebanon village of Ayt a-Shab, the Israeli military said. It claimed four Hezbollah fighters were killed and two wounded in fighting in the region, but Hezbollah did not immediately confirm the report.

6:50 p.m.: Israeli tanks and troops moved back into southern Gaza early Thursday. Residents and Palestinian security officials said about 50 tanks, accompanied by bulldozers, crossed about 1.5 kilometers into Gaza, taking up positions in a village outside the town of Rafah and at the Gaza airport, which has been out of commission for several years.

2:45 p.m.: Israeli warplanes slammed mountain villages in south Lebanon with at least five new airstrikes, witnesses said. The air raids were in areas near Lweizeh, Jbaa, Sarba and Ein Bousuar, more than 10 miles from northernmost tip of Israel.


2:30 p.m.: Spain's foreign minister arrived in Damascus as part of an effort to engage Syria in efforts to bring an end to the fighting between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem also received a telephone call from Germany's top diplomat Wednesday, and two the discussed the "necessity to intensify joint efforts to reach an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon," Syria's official news agency reported.

1 p.m.: Israeli aircraft dropped leaflets over south Lebanon, calling on Hezbollah guerrillas to surrender and warning them that "we will get you wherever you flee."

12:50 p.m.: The U.N. announced that it was again postponing a meeting of nations that could send peacekeepers to south Lebanon, saying talks about sending troops were pointless before there was progress on peace between Israel and Hezbollah.


11:20 a.m.: With just hours to go before the country's power plants run out of fuel, two oil tankers are approaching the Lebanese coast and look likely to be allowed through. Israel is temporarily lifting its naval blockade to let in the two tankers, Lebanese Transportation Minister Mohammed Safadi said. Energy supplies in Lebanon remain precarious and are a major concern for everyone from manufacturers and commuters to aid agencies and hospitals. A leak caused by Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power station on July 13 and 15 has covered 80 kilometers of the Lebanese coast with oil. Reports indicated that 10,000 tons of heavy fuel oil had escaped from damaged tanks, but the eventual total could be 35,000 tons, according to the environment ministry.

[slideshow promoSM Mideast]16

10:55 a.m.: Hezbollah fired a record number of rockets at northern Israel, Israeli reports said, pushing the three-week total over the 2,000 mark. In Wednesday's barrage, rockets hit further south than ever before and one projectile struck the West Bank for the first time. By midafternoon, some 190 rockets had hit northern Israel, police and Israeli radio reports said.

10:20 a.m.: France has said it won't participate in a Thursday meeting at the U.N. that could send troops to help monitor a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, even though it may join -- and possibly even lead -- such a force. France said it doesn't want to talk about sending peacekeepers until fighting halts and the Security Council agrees to a wider framework for lasting peace.

10:15 a.m.: Updated photos17 posted.


10 a.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 540 Lebanese have been killed, including 468 civilians and 26 Lebanese soldiers and at least 46 Hezbollah guerrillas. The health minister says the toll could be as high as 750, including those still buried in rubble or missing. Israel sent 10,000 troops into southern Lebanon as part of a new offensive and seized five people it said were Hezbollah fighters. In Israel: At least 55 Israelis have been confirmed killed, 36 soldiers and 19 civilians killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks. Hezbollah launched its deepest strikes yet into Israel, firing a record number of more than 160 rockets Wednesday. An Israeli-American was killed as he fled for home by bicycle, and a stray rocket hit the West Bank for the first time.

9:50 a.m.: Hezbollah said it fired a second round of Khaibar-1 rockets on the central Israeli town of Afoula, south of Haifa.

8:40 a.m.: Belgium must participate in any multinational peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon if it wants to retain international clout, Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said. He added that EU nations that refuse to provide troops to a proposed U.N.-mandated stability force should no longer be allowed to influence the bloc's policy in the region.

8:20 a.m.: Israeli warplanes attacked a Lebanese army base in south Lebanon, killing one soldier and wounding two others, a security official said. The jets fired two missiles on the base in the village of Sarba, in the Iqlim al Tuffah province, a highland region where Hezbollah is also believed to have offices and bases.

7:35 a.m.: Reuters reports: Three weeks of Israeli bombardment has so far inflicted $2 billion of damage on Lebanon's infrastructure, Transport and Public Works Minister Mohammed al-Safadi said.

[United Nations]

7:05 a.m.: The World Food Program said it negotiated with Israel the safe passage of two shipments carrying a total of 78,000 tons of oil and diesel. The shipment will reach the ports of Beirut and Tripoli within the next 24 hours.

7 a.m.: Italy's foreign minister said any international peacekeeping force in Lebanon can only be deployed after a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. "It's clear that no international force can be deployed while there's a war," Massimo D'Alema said.

7 a.m.: Israeli police said Hezbollah fired a record number of more than 160 rockets at northern Israel.

6:50 a.m.: A Hezbollah rocket killed one person and caused heavy damage after directly hitting a house in the Israeli town of Nahariya, said Yeruham Mendola, a spokesman for the rescue services.

6:20 a.m.: Hezbollah reported the rocket it fired at the Israeli town of Beit Shean was a Khaibar-1, which Israel said is Iranian-made.

5:45 a.m.: Lebanese security officials reported that Hezbollah fighters have fired more than 300 rockets toward Israel since dawn.

5:40 a.m.: A Hezbollah rocket hit near the Israeli town of Beit Shean, which is 43 miles from the border, Israeli rescue officials said. No injuries were reported, but it is the deepest strike into Israel so far.

5:30 a.m.: Israel's army chief said Israel is weighing resuming air strikes deep inside Lebanon, including Beirut. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said this would require approval from the government.

5:10 a.m.: Israeli troops captured five Hezbollah guerrillas and killed at least 10 in a commando raid on the Lebanese town of Baalbek, Gen. Halutz said. Hezbollah denied those captured belonged to the guerrilla group.

4:30 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas lightly wounded three Israeli soldiers in two separate incidents during fierce fighting in south Lebanon, the army said.

4:30 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas fired a massive barrage of at least 84 rockets at towns across northern Israel, wounding at least seven people and setting off fires, rescue services said. Rockets hit the cities of Tiberias, Maalot, Kiryat Shemona, Carmiel, Rosh Pina and Safed, said police spokesman Avi Zelba.

[Ehud Olmert]

4 a.m.: The Associated Press reports: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel's three-week-old offensive in Lebanon will stop only once a robust international peacekeeping force is in place in southern Lebanon. Mr. Olmert also said the release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas must be unconditional. The prime minister predicted that the outcome of the Lebanon fighting will create "new momentum" for Israel's plan to separate from the Palestinians by withdrawing from much of the West Bank.

3:24 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas fired rockets at towns across northern Israeli, including the city of Tiberias, touching off fires but causing no casualties, rescue services said.

2:44 a.m.: Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Hezbollah and vowed Iran will stand with Lebanon in the fight against Israel. "Iran ... will stand by all the oppressed nations especially the dear people of Lebanon and the combatant Palestinian nation," he said in remarks broadcast on state-run television.

12:48 a.m.: Hezbollah said some people had been seized at a Hezbollah-run hospital in Baalbek that was targeted by Israeli commandos, but denied they were fighters. "Those who were taken prisoner are citizens. It will not be long before the enemy will discover that they are ordinary citizens," Hezbollah said in a statement broadcast on its Al Manar television.

Tuesday, Aug. 1

11:30 p.m.: More details on Baalbek. An Israeli raid involving heavy air strikes and a helicopter-borne commando raid killed at least seven people in the eastern Lebanese city, witnesses said. One of a series of air raids struck the village of Al Jamaliyeh, about one kilometer from a Hezbollah-run hospital in Baalbek, that was targeted by Israeli commandos.

6:05 p.m.: Lebanese army and security officials said a major Israeli operation was under way against suspected Hezbollah positions near Baalbek in eastern Lebanon. One Lebanese officer said the Israeli presence in the air above the city was "unprecedented." Witnesses in Baalbek said they saw dozens of Israeli helicopters hovering and said it was on alert against a possible troop landing. They said a hospital in Baalbek was bombed by Israeli helicopters. The Israeli military wouldn't comment on the operation. Hezbollah guerrillas were fighting Israeli troops west of Baalbek, the group's Al-Manar TV reported.

4:25 p.m.: Israeli warplanes late Tuesday attacked at least five suspected Hezbollah positions near Baalbek in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, three hours before the official end of a two-day pause in the air war. Witnesses said fighter jets and helicopters were still above Baalbek. There was no information immediately available on what was hit or if there were casualties.

[slideshow_promo sm]18

4 p.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 539 people have been killed since the fighting began. Hezbollah said four of its fighters were killed, bringing the group's acknowledged death toll to 46. Israel's Justice Minister declared 300 Hezbollah guerillas have been killed. In Israel: At least 51 Israelis have been confirmed killed, including 32 troops, according to authorities. Hezbollah claimed that 35 Israeli soldiers had been killed or wounded in fighting in southern Lebanon Tuesday, but Israel had no immediate public comment.

1:50 p.m.: The EU won't add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations, the EU's Finnish presidency said. "Given the sensitive situation where we are, I don't think this is something we will be acting on now," Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Tuesday after a ministerial meeting that adopted a proposal aimed at ending the conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

1:15 p.m.: U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair called for an "alliance of moderation" to counter the "arc of extremism" stretching across the Middle East, saying that a soft approach is as important as military action. "We will continue to do all we can to halt the hostilities," said Blair in remarks prepared for delivery in a speech later Tuesday to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles. "But once that has happened, we must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us."


12:55 p.m.: Shimon Peres, Israel's deputy prime minister, is due to meet U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department in Washington tonight and, separately, national security adviser Stephen Hadley. The purpose is to provide an updating of the situation in Lebanon and Israel's military intentions. President Bush discussed the next steps with Ms. Rice and Mr. Hadley over dinner at the White House on Monday.

12:15 p.m.: Olmert says Israel opposes a cease-fire because every day of fighting weakens Hezbollah. He said Israel was "winning the battle" in its 21-day offensive. He said he hoped a cease-fire would be based on a formula that would push Hezbollah away from Israel's border and prevent it from attacking in the future.

11:40 a.m.: European Union foreign ministers called on Israel and Hezbollah to agree to an "immediate cessation of hostilities" followed by international efforts to get agreement on a sustainable cease-fire. "Cessation of hostilities is not the same as a cease-fire," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said. "A cease-fire can perhaps be achieved later...We can now only ask the U.N. Security Council and put pressure on it and not to waste any more time." Earlier, the U.K., Germany and the Czech Republic resisted efforts to call for an immediate cease-fire, diplomats said.

11 a.m.: Syria would defend itself if "dragged" into a war with Israel, a Syrian member of parliament said. Suleiman Haddad's comments came a day after President Bashar Assad called on his army to increase readiness to cope with "regional challenges." Mr. Haddad denied Israel's accusation that Syria was supplying Hezbollah with weapons.

9:50 a.m.: France said French and Iranian foreign ministers met to discuss what role Iran could play in ending the fighting in Lebanon. Philippe Douste-Blazy and Manouchehr Mottaki both visited Beirut Monday and arranged a meeting to consider "to what measure Iran could contribute to a de-escalation of the conflict," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said in Paris.

9:35 a.m.: The U.K. and Germany rejected a draft EU statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants, diplomats said. The two nations, at emergency EU foreign ministers' talks, offered an alternative draft calling for an eventual "cessation of hostilities" -- with no time frame given.


9 a.m.: Hezbollah television reported that guerrillas had killed or wounded 35 Israeli soldiers in a major battle in the Lebanon-Israel border town of Ainta al-Shaab. The guerrilla group said Israel was unable to remove its wounded because of constant fire.

8:20 a.m.: Four Red Cross convoys bringing aid to the Lebanese border towns of Marwahin and Aytaroun turned around because of fighting in the area, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said. "We did not receive the green light from the Israeli Defense Force," Annick Bouvier said.

8:05 a.m.: A European Union draft statement being discussed by EU foreign ministers calls for "an immediate cease-fire" in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants.

7:55 a.m.: The head of the world's largest Muslim political grouping called for large-scale aid to help Lebanon and the Palestinians. Organization of the Islamic Conference Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu made the call at the start of a meeting of Muslim countries' humanitarian aid organizations.

7:30 a.m.: Iran's foreign minister blasted the U.N. Security Council for failing to stop the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, and called the U.S. and Israel "partners in these brutal crimes" against Lebanese civilians.

7 a.m.: The wife of an Israeli soldier whose kidnapping on July 12 launched Israel's offensive against Hezbollah appealed for international support to win his freedom. Karnit Goldwasser traveled to London in hopes of building support to win the release of her husband, Ehud.

[United Nations]

6:25 a.m.: Two U.N. convoys destined for the Lebanese towns of Naqoura and Rmaich were halted after failing to receive necessary security clearance from Israeli military forces and Hezbollah, said Christiane Berthiaume, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program.

6:15 a.m.: Hezbollah claimed to have killed three Israeli soldiers in heavy fighting in the border village of Aita al Shaab. Israel had no immediate public comment.

6:10 a.m.: Israeli warplanes launched three air raids on targets along the Litani River, including Kfar Kila, Adaisse, and Taibeh, Lebanon's official news agency reported. Gunbattles were reported in several central Lebanese villages, and Hezbollah said four of its fighters were killed.

6 a.m.: Hezbollah's Al-Manar television reported that guerrillas destroyed an Israeli tank and bulldozer in a ground battle in the south Lebanese village of Ayta ash Shab.

[European Union]

5:45 a.m.: The European Union's presidency warned that Israel's offensive was unlikely to bring success and was instead bound to increase support for Hezbollah.

4:50 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas exchanged heavy fire with Israeli soldiers in the south Lebanese village of Ayta ash Shab. The guerrillas fired antitank rockets at troops in a house in the village, the army said.

4:45 a.m.: Israel's defense minister said Israel will target every vehicle carrying weapons from Syria into Lebanon, but isn't trying to provoke a war with Syria. "There is no plan to initiate a war with Syria," Amir Peretz said.

4 a.m.: The Israeli army said at least 20 Hezbollah guerrillas have been wounded or killed in the past 48 hours during fighting with Israeli soldiers around the Lebanese village of Taybeh. Arab television station Al Arabiya said Hezbollah denied the fighters were killed.


3:05 a.m.: Reuters reports: Lebanon's stock exchange reopened after a two-week closure imposed by the war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. Beirut Stock Exchange Chairman Fadi Khalaf said the stock exchange had reopened, subject to special measures designed to limit price volatility resulting from panic and speculation.

12:30 a.m.: A senior Israeli lawmaker said the Israeli army will move deeper into southern Lebanon, to clear out Hezbollah fighters and hold on to that territory until a multinational force can deploy there. Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said troops would hold on to lands up to the Litani River, about 18 miles from the Israel-Lebanon border.

[Watch an AP video]

12 a.m.: Watch an Associated Press report on the latest news from the continuing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.
Windows Media: HIGH19 | LOW20 (Player required21)
RealPlayer: HIGH22 | LOW23 (Player required24)

12 a.m.: WSJ's Yochi J. Dreazen and Marc Champion report: Tensions are emerging between the U.S. and Israel as the Bush administration begins to pressure Israel to wind down its campaign in Lebanon amid surging civilian casualties. More25

Monday, July 31

11:30 p.m.: Israeli warplanes struck deep inside Lebanon, hitting an area 73 miles north of the Israeli border in eastern Lebanon that is a stronghold of Hezbollah guerrillas. The latest bombings came despite a 48-hour Israeli suspension of air raids.

11 p.m.: WSJ's Guy Chazan reports: A woman who once fought for an end to Israel's 18-year occupation of Lebanon backs the country's actions in the latest conflict, showing how Israeli attitudes are hardening as the war on Hezbollah continues. More26

8:30 p.m.: WSJ's Fred Kempe reports: With international pressure rising on Washington to stop Israel's pounding of the Iranian-armed and sponsored group Hezbollah, two legendary foreign-policy minds take opposing views on the Mideast crisis. More27

6:30 p.m.: Israel's Security Cabinet approved widening the ground offensive in Lebanon and rejected a cease-fire until an international force is in place, a participant in the meeting said. Airstrikes in Lebanon would resume "in full force" after the 48-hour suspension expires in another day.

[George W. Bush]

5:30 p.m.: Sen. Chuck Hagel, the No. 2 Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a potential presidential candidate in 2008, recommended that Bush appoint a special envoy to the Middle East, possibly former secretaries of state Colin Powell or James A. Baker III. Mr. Hagel said the U.S. should deal directly with Iran and Syria, main sponsors of the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah.

5 p.m.: Syrian President Bashar Assad called on his army to increase readiness to cope with "regional challenges." There have been reports that some reservists have been called up for military duty -- a sign that Syria is concerned the fighting in Lebanon could spill over. But the Syrian government hasn't made any formal announcement.

[Oil barrels]

4:30 p.m.: Light sweet crude for September delivery rose $1.16 a barrel to settle at $74.40 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil traders continued to be focused on the Mideast violence, fearful of possible supply interruptions in the region. Iran, OPEC's No. 2 supplier, is a backer of Hezbollah.

3:40 p.m.: Syria has told Egypt's foreign minister it opposes the creation of any new international force in Lebanon, but wouldn't be averse to the expansion of the current U.N. force there, widely regarded as ineffectual, officials said.


2:30 p.m.: Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki arrived in Lebanon, in the first visit by an Iranian official to war-torn Lebanon since fighting broke out between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah guerrillas. Mr. Mottaki arrived over land from neighboring Syria, border officials said. He met Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, and planned to meet President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Fuad Saniora on Tuesday.

1 p.m.: Israeli warplanes struck the main Lebanese-Syrian border crossing for the third time in as many days, hitting a vehicle, the Israeli military and witnesses said. It was Israel's third strike despite calling a 48-hour pause of its air campaign. The Israeli military said the strike hit a truck importing weapons from Syria at the Masnaa border crossing. Lebanese police officials said two missiles struck near a vehicle carrying relief supplies near the Lebanese customs post, wounding four people and a customs officer.

[Ehud Olmert]

12:45 p.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said no cease-fire would be forthcoming in Israel's 20 day battle with Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon. Mr. Olmert said that Israeli forces continued fighting in the air, from the sea and on the ground in Lebanon. "We are determined to succeed in this struggle," he said. "We will not give up on our goal to live a life free of terror." The fighting would end when Israel brought kidnapped soldiers home safely and the threat from Hezbollah rockets was removed, he said.

12:15 p.m.: Hezbollah's Al-Manar television said that guerrillas hit an Israeli warship with missiles off the coast of the southern city of Tyre as part of its retaliation for an Israeli strike in Qana that killed at least 56 civilians. The Israeli military denied the claim.

11:45 a.m.: The Security Council extended the existing U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon by just one month, a move meant to ensure that the force doesn't conflict with a larger international deployment of peacekeepers if Hezbollah and Israel agree to end three weeks of war.

[George W. Bush]

10:45 a.m.: President Bush said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is working "urgently" to achieve a sustainable cease-fire in the Mideast. He added that said he hoped the Security Council could craft a "resolution that will end the violence and lay the groundwork for a lasting peace in the Middle East." Mr. Bush again defended Israel's right to defend itself and reiterated his view that Hezbollah is to blame for the current crisis. He called for an international force to be deployed "quickly," and said Iran and Syria need to stop supporting Hezbollah. Earlier, Ms. Rice said Israel's Qana attack complicated her diplomatic push, acknowledging that there is "a lot of work to do" to bring about a lasting cease-fire.

10 a.m.: New photos28 are now available.


9 a.m.: In a second airstrike around the port city of Tyre, Israel, accidentally killed a Lebanese soldier when it hit a car that it believed was carrying a senior Hezbollah official, the Israeli army said, expressing regret for the mistake. Lebanese security officials said the soldier was killed by a rocket strike from a drone aircraft.

8:20 a.m.: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose Arab country was the first to sign a peace treaty with Israel, warned in a nationwide televised statement that the entire Middle East peace could collapse because of "Israeli aggression" in Lebanon.

7:45 a.m.: Israeli artillery artillery fire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun killed the Palestinian boy, 17, by hitting his home, and it lightly wounded a two-year-old Palestinian boy in a nearby house, doctors said. The Israeli army said artillery was fired against militants launching rockets toward Israel.

[United Nations]

6:50 a.m.: The United Nations sent relief supplies to the Lebanese towns of Qana and Tyre, taking advantage of a halt in Israel's air raids, officials said. However, U.N. officials added that convoys elsewhere in Lebanon are suspended because of the fragile security situation.

6:40 a.m.: Thousands of civilians trapped in south Lebanon's war zone for three weeks made an exodus for the north, taking advantage of the pause in airstrikes to flee.

6:40 a.m.: Lebanese Red Cross teams escorted by U.N. observers went to the village of Srifa to dig up more than 50 bodies believed still buried under rubble since an Israeli attack on July 19. The bodies have begun decomposing, the Red Cross said.

6:35 a.m.: Hezbollah rockets hit the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona, Israel Radio reported. No casualties were reported.

6:30 a.m.: The Israeli air force carried out airstrikes near the Lebanese village of Taibe despite an agreement to halt raids for 48 hours, the army said.

6:20 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas attacked an Israeli tank with antitank missiles near the Lebanese villages of Kila and Taibe. Three soldiers were lightly wounded.

4:45 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz told Parliament that Israel will expand and strengthen its attacks against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

4:40 a.m.: Hezbollah legislator Hassan Fadlallah raised the possibility that the group might stop firing rockets into northern Israel during a 48-hour suspension of airstrikes by Israel. "Shelling settlements is a Lebanese reaction to [Israel] shelling Lebanese civilians," Mr. Fadlallah told LBC television.


4:40 a.m.: Israel's top ministers will discuss expanding the army's ground operation in southern Lebanon during a meeting later Monday, senior defense officials said.

4:35 a.m.: United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said she hoped the U.N. Security Council would debate a resolution as early as Wednesday to bring an end to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

4:30 a.m.: Austria's foreign minister called for an immediate end to hostilities in Lebanon and an end to what she called the use of "blind force."

3:40 am: Iraq's vice president accused Israel of carrying out "massacres" in Lebanon. "These horrible massacres carried out by the Israeli aggression, incites in us the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity," Adel Abdul Mahdi said.

3:40 a.m.: As many as 30 Muslim nations are expected to meet in Malaysia this week to discuss measures to end the conflict between Israel and Lebanon during an emergency summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim political grouping.

3:30 a.m.: Germany's deputy foreign minister said the U.S. now appears to be exerting "great pressure" to calm the situation in the Middle East. "What Condoleezza Rice achieved in Israel in the last few hours is far more than one could actually expect, and we also have the impression that great pressure is now being exercised by America," Gernot Erler told ZDF television.

2:20 a.m.: Israel's justice minister said the country's war in Lebanon isn't over yet. "I'm convinced that we won't finish this war until it's clear that Hezbollah has no more abilities to attack Israel from south Lebanon. This is what we are striving for," Haim Ramon told Army Radio.

[Condoleezza Rice]

1:40 a.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion reports: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she will push for a cease-fire and a "lasting settlement" in the conflict between Lebanon and Israel through a U.N. Security Council resolution this week. Full article29

1:30 a.m.: Indonesia called Israeli airstrikes on Qana "criminal" and urged the U.N. to intervene immediately to halt Middle East violence.

12:30 a.m.: Israel began its suspension of airstrikes in Lebanon at 2 a.m. local time, an Israeli army spokesman said. The pause in overflights will last for 48 hours and cover the entire country.


12:20 a.m.: Israeli warplanes hit two suspected guerrilla positions near the eastern Lebanon village of Yanta, about three miles from the Syrian border, security officials said. The early morning attacks were carried out shortly before Israel's 48-hour halt in aerial attacks.

Week 3: Diplomatic Struggles
July 30, 2006

Sunday, July 30

9:15 p.m.: China condemned Israel's bombing of Qana, and called on the two sides to declare an immediate cease-fire.

8:20 p.m.: The U.N. Security Council passed a statement expressing "extreme shock and distress'' over Israel's bombing of civilians in Qana but didn't condemn it.

5:15 p.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion reports: Israel agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon while it investigates the attack on Qana, said State Department spokesman Adam Ereli. Full article1


3:15 p.m.: "Our hope for peace for boys and girls everywhere extends across the world, especially in the Middle East," President George W. Bush said before the start of a T-ball game at the White House. "Today's actions in the Middle East remind us that friends and allies must work together for a sustainable peace particularly for the sake of children."

2:30 p.m.: Palestinian gunmen stormed the U.N. compound in the Gaza Strip to protest the Israeli airstrike on Qana that left more than 50 people dead. Witnesses said there was damage but no immediate reports of injury.

[Tony Blair]

1:00 p.m.: United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair said the attacks in Qana were "absolutely tragic" and that the situation "absolutely cannot continue." Mr. Blair said that a U.N. resolution must be passed now and once passed, the hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah must immediately stop.

12:45 p.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas hit an Israel tank with a missile in the border village of Adaisse, wounding four Israeli soldiers who were evacuated to Israel, the military said. The attack raised to eight the number of Israeli soldiers who were wounded in fighting in southern Lebanon Sunday.

[United Nations]

11:45 a.m.: "We meet at a moment of extreme gravity first and foremost for the people of the Middle East but also for the authority of this organization and especially this council," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said as a Security Council meeting opened. "Action is needed now before many more children, women and men become casualties of a conflict over which they have no control." Mr. Annan renewed his call for an immediate cease-fire.

10:30 a.m.: "We extend our condolences to the families of the Qana victims and to all the people of Lebanon," White House spokesman Blair Jones said. "This was a terrible and tragic incident. We continue to urge the Israeli government to exercise the utmost care so as to avoid any civilian casualties. This tragic incident shows why this is so critical." Earlier, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, the U.S. State Department's third-ranking official, reaffirmed the White House's position that Israel has the right to defend itself and contended on Sunday an agreement was near on ending the fighting that has ravaged Lebanon.

[Condoleezza Rice]

9:45 a.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he needs 10 days to two weeks to finish offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official.

9:30 a.m.: Ms. Rice is abruptly breaking off her diplomatic mission in the Middle East and returning to Washington after Israel's deadly attack on the southern Lebanese village of Qana, a U.S. official said. The secretary was expected to work from Washington on a U.N. Security Council resolution to end the crisis. The Security Council was due to hold consultations on Lebanon at 11:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m.: New photos2 are now available. (Warning: graphic images)


7:50 a.m.: Lebanon Prime Minister Fuad Saniora telephoned U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging him to convene an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and arrange for an immediate ceasefire, the government said.

5:45 a.m.: "From the village and its surroundings, hundreds of Katyusha [rockets] have been fired at Israel, toward Kiryat Shemona and Afula," Mr. Olmert said during Israel's weekly cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. "The army did not get an order to strike at Lebanese civilians. In Kfar Qana, hundreds of Katyushas are hidden."

5:30 a.m.: Jordan's King Abdullah II voiced his strongest criticism of Israel yet, saying an attack on the southern Lebanese village of Qana that left 50 people dead, including 27 children, was "criminal aggression" which targeted innocent civilians. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she is "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" after an attack on a village in southern Lebanon but did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

5:20 a.m.: Protesters angry over the Israeli strike on Qana broke into the main U.N. building in Beirut. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Lebanese village was used as a Hezbollah base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel.

4:30 a.m.: Ms. Rice put off a Lebanon stop after the Lebanese government asked her not to come. Lebanese officials said the request was made after dozens of civilians were killed in an attack on Qana.


4 a.m.: Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said Beirut would only be open to discussing an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire.

3:30 a.m.: Mr. Olmert said Israel would not rush into a cease-fire in southern Lebanon until it achieves its goals there. "I think it needs to be clear that Israel is not in a hurry to have a cease-fire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we achieved the central goals that we set down for ourselves," Mr. Olmert said before Israel's weekly Cabinet meeting.

2:50 a.m.: Civil defense workers in the southern Lebanese town of Qana said up to 50 civilians were killed in the early morning attack by Israeli planes.

2:40 a.m.: The Israeli army confirmed reports by Hezbollah television that its troops were operating in the Taybeh area, about two miles inside Lebanon, and that one soldier was moderately wounded in the fighting.

2:14 a.m.: Lebanese security officials said three houses were destroyed by Israeli strikes in the southern town of Qana and that 20 bodies have been dug from the rubble so far.

[Ehud Olmert]

1:50 a.m.: Israel's ambassador to the U.S. said the fate of the disputed Chebaa Farms territory will not be part of any deal to end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, but aides to Israel's prime minister said Mr. Olmert was not opposed to a pullout from the disputed border area.

1:40 a.m.: Hezbollah's television channel reported fierce clashes between the guerrilla and Israeli troops who had "infiltrated" a zone known as the Taybeh Project area. The report could not immediately be confirmed with the Israeli army.

1:24 a.m.: Hezbollah said it had shelled Israeli outposts along the border. The Israeli army said Katyushas rockets were falling in Nahariya, Kiryat Shemona and an area close to Maalot. It said the rockets mostly fell in open areas, and that no injuries were reported.

Saturday, July 29

10:35 p.m.: The U.S. has asked Australia to contribute troops to a proposed peacekeeping force in war-torn Lebanon, but any Australian contingent would be "very limited," its foreign minister said.

10:30 p.m.: An Israeli force has massed on the Israel-Lebanon border to the east of Khiam, a Lebanese town the army left hours earlier, Lebanese security officials said. The town has been under intense bombardment in recent days -- including a strike that hit a U.N. post nearby, killing four observers.

[United Nations]

10:20 p.m.: The Associated Press reports: A draft resolution circulating Saturday among U.N. Security Council members would call for an immediate halt to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and seek a wide new buffer zone in south Lebanon monitored by international forces and the Lebanese army. The proposal, which aims to promote lasting peace between Lebanon and Israel, was sent quietly by France to the other 14 members of the council ahead of a possible meeting of foreign ministers in New York to discuss Lebanon sometime next week.

4:35 p.m.: An international agreement, leading to a cease-fire in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, is possible sometime in the next few days, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said. But the international community must act decisively and collectively, and both Israel and the Hezbollah militia must agree to end the violence, he said.

4:10 p.m.: New photos from today's news are available here3.

[Condoleezza Rice]

3:30 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert but didn't speak publicly afterward, the Associated Press reports. On Sunday, she plans to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Further details on the schedule weren't available.

2:20 p.m.: Israeli missiles that landed near a Lebanese border post at the main Syria-Lebanon crossing closed the border for the first time in the conflict, police officials told the Associated Press.

2:05 p.m.: Two United Nations peacekeepers have been injured in an Israeli airstrike on their post in southern Lebanon near the Israeli border. On Thursday, four unarmed U.N. observers were killed in a strike on their border post. Just Friday, in response to that fatal strike, the U.N. said it had decided to move 50 unarmed observers from their posts to the better-protected positions of 2,000 lightly armed U.N. peacekeepers.

2 p.m.: WSJ's Marc Champion and Yochi Dreazen report: A senior administration official said the U.S. would push for a Security Council resolution to include language stressing the urgent need for a cease-fire -- but not demanding the immediate cessation of hostilities that most European and Arab governments want. The official also said the White House doesn't expect Israel to end its offensive in Lebanon until the new international force had begun deploying into Lebanon, a process likely to take at least a week. Full article4

12:15 p.m.: The Associated Press reports: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened more rocket attacks on cities in central Israel and claimed Israel suffered a "serious defeat" in ground fighting around the Lebanese border town of Bint Jbail, from which Israeli troops pulled back on Saturday after a week of heavy battles. Israel "has not made a single military accomplishment" in its 18-day offensive, Nasrallah said in a speech aired on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

11:25 a.m.: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's plane has landed in Jerusalem. No word on whether she will travel back to Beirut or elsewhere in the region after expected talks with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni.


10:10 a.m.: In his regular weekly radio address, Bush calls the fighting in Lebanon "painful and tragic," but says it also presents opportunity for change in the Middle East, a region that has "suffered decades of tyranny and violence." The president said he will work toward a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating a multinational force in southern Lebanon, where fighting has raged between Israel and the Hezbollah militia.

6:30 a.m.: Israel has rejected a request by the U.N. for a three-day cease-fire in Lebanon to deliver humanitarian supplies and allow civilians to leave the war zone. Avi Pazner, a government spokesman, said Israel already has opened safe corridors across Lebanon for such shipments and that Hezbollah guerrillas are blocking them to create a humanitarian crisis.

Friday, July 28

4:30 p.m.: EU officials speak encouragingly about a peace plan pulled together by Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora. The proposal, which Hezbollah signed onto late Thursday in Beirut, calls for an international force and the movement of the Lebanese army into south Lebanon -- a step that could mean the withdrawal of guerrillas from the border and eventual disarming. But the plan also requires a cease-fire and a prisoner exchange. Visiting Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, after meeting with Siniora and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, the de facto negotiator for Hezbollah, said he and two other EU envoys approve of the plan, which "we think forms a good basis for a regional agreement."

3:40 p.m.: The White House has posted the transcript of Bush and Blair's press conference earlier. One gem: "Prime Minister Tony Blair, welcome back to the White House. As you know, we've got a close relationship. You tell me what you think. You share with me your perspective. And you let me know when the microphone is on." The president was referring to his comment to Blair during a G-8 meeting in Russia July 17 that Syria should be pressured to "stop doing this s---." The comment was broadcast around the world courtesy an unobserved still-on microphone. (Read the full transcript5)

[Condoleezza Rice]

3:15 p.m.: Rice plans to arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday evening, senior State Department officials traveling with her tell the Associated Press. One official says she's expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

1:20 p.m.: In an appearance at the White House after a meeting with the British prime minister, President Bush said he and Tony Blair agree that a multinational force must be dispatched quickly to the Mideast fighting, and said they will work for a U.N. resolution to support it. "Nothing will work, unless, as well as an end to the immediate crisis, we put in place the measures necessary to prevent it from occurring again," Blair added.

12:40 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, currently in Malaysia for a long-planned conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will return to the Middle East over the weekend. Her exact destination and arrival are uncertain.

10:20 a.m.: Hezbollah fired a new rocket, called Khaibar-1, striking near the Israeli town of Afula, south of Haifa. Israeli authorities confirmed five rockets hit fields outside Afula, causing no casualties. The area around Afula, 31 miles south of the Israeli-Lebanese border area has been struck before, but Israeli security officials said today's attacks were the southernmost so far.

[slideshow_promo sm]6

6:45 a.m.: The militant group Islamic Jihad said it launched a rocket at the southern Israeli town of Zikim. The strike wounded two Israeli children who were hit by shrapnel, Israeli rescue services said. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, the Israeli army arrested 22 Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activity, and a Palestinian youth and a Jewish settler were killed there, the army and police said.

5:28 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she will return to the Middle East to work with others on trying to bring an end to the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting, but she didn't say when. "The question is, when will it be right for me to return to the Middle East," Ms. Rice told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ms. Rice and her officials were unclear on what needed to happen for her to return.

4:30 a.m.: British Prime Minister Tony Blair will seek a U.N. resolution to solve the crisis during talks with President Bush, his spokesman said. Mr. Blair will seek to "increase the urgency" of diplomacy to end the violence between Israel and Hezbollah when he meets Mr. Bush in Washington Friday, his spokesman told reporters, adding that Britain hoped a U.N. resolution could be in place by next week.

2:11 a.m.: Israeli warplanes renewed attacks on targets in southern Lebanon, destroying a building but causing no casualties, Lebanese security officials said. Israeli jets fired missiles on a deserted four-story building near the southern market town of Nabatiyeh that reduced the structure to rubble.

1:27 a.m.: Israeli troops and tanks pulled out of northern Gaza after a bloody two-day sweep, killing 29 Palestinians, but Israeli aircraft pounded the area. After the Israeli pullout, as residents streamed outside before dawn to inspect the damage, rescue workers found the body of a militant killed in the fighting. Israeli troops tore up farmland and knocked down walls, electricity wires and telephone cables during the incursion.

1:23 a.m.: Israel's U.N. ambassador has ruled out major U.N. involvement in any potential international force in Lebanon, saying more professional and better-trained troops were needed for such a volatile situation. Dan Gillerman also said Israel wouldn't allow the U.N. to join in an investigation of an Israeli airstrike that demolished a post belonging to the current U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Four U.N. observers were killed in the Tuesday strike.

Thursday, July 27

11:43 p.m.: WSJ's Yochi J. Dreazen reports. Although often seen as homogeneous, the Arab-American community of 1.2 million is deeply divided by nationality -- and by fierce arguments over how it should flex its political muscle. Arab-American groups lack the resources of pro-Israel organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and have traditionally contributed far less to political campaigns and parties. The Arab-American groups are working hard to narrow the gap financially and build lobbying arms modeled on AIPAC, capable of exerting greater influence with the administration and on Capitol Hill. More7.


11:25 p.m.: WSJ's Sarah Ellison reports. Bloggers from Lebanon and Israel -- some on the scene, others around the world -- are providing live updates of their experiences, commenting on each other's writing and sometimes linking to blogs across the border. The dialogue is all the more unusual since the populations of the two countries had few ways to interact even before the fighting began. Lebanese law prohibits Israelis from entering the country, and there are no phone connections between the two states. More8.

11:20 p.m.: WSJ's Jay Solomon and Mariam Fam report. Soon after the fighting began, Israeli jets were dispatched on a mission: Take Al-Manar Television, the satellite news channel run by the militant group Hezbollah, off the air. The jets destroyed the station's five-story headquarters in a southern suburb of the city, then returned to strafe the rubble, say Al-Manar executives. Thanks to elaborate advance planning, Al-Manar's signal returned after just two minutes of downtime. More9.

3:50 p.m.: The Security Council approved a weak statement expressing shock and distress at Israel's bombing of a U.N. post in Lebanon that killed four unarmed military observers. All 15 council members agreed on the watered-down statement, the first by the Security Council since fighting began July 12. The U.S. insisted on dropping any condemnation or allusion to the possibility that Israel deliberately targeted the U.N. post.


3:30 p.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: The Health Ministry estimated a civilian death toll as high as 600, including some 150 to 200 civilians believed to be buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings added to a previous estimate based on the number of bodies received at hospitals. Israeli airstrikes Thursday pounded roads and suspected Hezbollah residences in the south and east, as well as a Lebanese army base in the north, while artillery and warplanes barraged the border region where ground fighting continued. In Israel: At least 51 Israelis have been confirmed killed, including 32 troops, according to authorities. Hezbollah fired at least 48 rockets into Israel Thursday.

1:30 p.m.: In a defiant speech, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz vowed that Hezbollah will "not return to what it was" and that Israel's offensive in Lebanon is the fate that awaits "anyone who attacks Israel." In a joint news conference with Mr. Peretz, the army's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said the strategic damage to Hezbollah from Israel's 16-day offensive is "enormous."

[israel slideshow promo sm]10

12:40 p.m.: The Associated Press issued a correction to the official Italian translation of comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The leader said "intensive" negotiations were under way to free the Israeli soldier, according to an Associated Press translation. He didn't say a deal for the soldier's release was "imminent."

12:30 p.m.: President Bush declined to criticize Israel's tactics in its continuing offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, and gave a sharp condemnation of Iran's role in the bloody fighting. "Hezbollah attacked Israel. I know Hezbollah is connected to Iran," Mr. Bush said tersely at the end of Oval Office meetings with Romanian President Traian Basescu. "Now is the time for the world to confront this danger."

12:20 p.m.: New photos11 are now available.

[Mahmoud Abbas]

11:30 a.m.: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there could be an "imminent solution" for the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants. He spoke at a news conference after meeting with Italian Premier Romano Prodi, who said that the Rome conference on the Middle East didn't indicate Israel should continue its offensive in Lebanon. "The position expressed by the conference cannot be interpreted as an authorization," he said.


11:00 a.m.: Watch an Associated Press report on a warning from al Qaeda's No. 2 leader that the terrorist group wouldn't stand idly by while Israeli bombardments "burn our brothers" in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Windows Media: HIGH12 | LOW13 (Player required14) RealPlayer: HIGH15 | LOW16 (Player required17)

10:10 a.m.: European Union officials and diplomats met to try to pull together plans for aiding Lebanon and test the waters for European involvement in a new force there. But officials said many nations remained cool to the idea, not knowing what the mission would entail. So far, only Germany, Italy and non-EU member Turkey have voiced lukewarm support for contributing to any mission.

9:30 a.m.: "Whatever it [Israel] does it's not going to reach its goal," Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said. "They're not going to be able to take out the weaponry of Hezbollah. So all they're doing is massive destruction." Mr. Lahoud, a staunch supporter of Hezbollah and close ally of Syria, also called on the U.S. to help end the destruction and push for a cease-fire.

8:30 a.m.: A Hezbollah rocket slammed into a chemical plant in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona, security officials said, though the type of chemicals involved and the extent of the damage weren't immediately known. During Israel's 17-day offensive in Lebanon, Hezbollah has fired more than 1,400 rockets into Israel.

[Ehud Olmert]

8:00 a.m.: Officials said top Israeli cabinet ministers decided against expanding the country's Lebanon offensive but ordered the call-up of thousands of additional reserve soldiers to boost the campaign. During a session with the so-called security cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the goals of Israel's 17-day offensive are being met, participants of the meeting said.

6:00 a.m.: Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, used a new videotape aired on Al-Jazeera television to call for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq." Mr. Zawahri said al Qaeda now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us," and that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants wouldn't be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

5:30 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that she is "more than happy" to go back to the Middle East if it helps in resolving the Lebanon crisis. Speaking at a news conference in Malaysia, where she is attending a key regional security meeting, Ms. Rice said "I am willing and ready to go back to the Middle East anytime." "I am more than happy to go back," she said, if her efforts can "move toward a sustainable cease-fire that would end the violence."

5:30 a.m.: Israeli jets pounded suspected Hezbollah positions across Lebanon, extending its air campaign a day after suffering its highest one-day casualty toll. An Israeli cabinet minister said lack of agreement on a cease-fire gave Israel a green light to press deeper to wipe out the Islamic militant group.

Wednesday, July 26

[israel slideshow sm]18

10:30 p.m.: The U.S. blocked the U.N. Security Council from issuing a statement that would have condemned Israel's bombing of a UN post on the Lebanon border that killed four military observers.

10 p.m.: AP reports local broadcasters said Israel hit an army base and an adjacent relay station belonging to Lebanese state radio at Aamchit, 30 miles north of Beirut, knocking down a transmission tower. It wasn't immediately clear if the attack was by air or shelling from ships. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reports.

9 p.m.: WSJ's Neil King Jr. reports. The U.S., European and Arab countries pledged to hammer out a complex plan to persuade Israel and Hezbollah militants to put down their guns, but the deal fell short of the immediate cease-fire many had sought. As fighting continued along the Israel-Lebanon border, diplomats here for an 18-country summit on the crisis said the overwhelming obstacle was one of timing: How to put together a proposal where all the necessary ingredients either happen at once or fall in place in just the right order. More19.


6:30 p.m.: WSJ's John Harwood writes. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that President Bush stands on relatively firm political ground in his stance toward recent violence in the Mideast. By 45%-39%, Americans say they approve his handling of clashes between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. Americans embrace Mr. Bush's solidarity with Israel even though a majority believes a wider war in the region is likely. In the current conflict, 57% say their sympathies lie "more with Israel." See the latest poll results20.

6 p.m.: U.N. observers in Lebanon telephoned the Israeli military 10 times in six hours to ask it to stop shelling near their position before an attack killed four observers and sparked international anger with Israel, U.N. officials said. The U.N. observation post near Khiam came under close Israeli fire 21 times Tuesday -- including 12 hits within 100 yards and five direct hits from 1:20 p.m. until the peacekeepers' post was destroyed at 7:30 p.m., Jane Lute, assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping, told the U.N. Security Council in New York.

4 p.m.: Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip killed 23 people, including 16 militants and a mother and her two small daughters, in the deadliest day of fighting here since Israel withdrew from this coastal strip last year. Most of those killed were hit by tank fire, airstrikes and in clashes with Israeli troops in fighting in eastern Gaza City. At least 76 people were injured, and 16 were in critical condition. No Israel soldiers were hurt in the fighting. Gaza militants fired 11 rockets into Israel, lightly wounding one person in the Israeli town of Sderot.

2:35 p.m.: Where things stand: In Lebanon: At least 422 people, mostly civilians, have been killed, according to the Health Ministry. Up to 750,000 Lebanese have been driven from their homes. Israeli warplanes staged 15 airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Wednesday. In Israel: At least 50 Israelis have been confirmed killed, including 32 troops, according to authorities. The Israeli Army confirmed eight soldiers were killed in a battle for the key Lebanese town of Bint Jbail.

1 p.m.: Israeli warplanes destroyed the offices of Hezbollah's south Lebanon commander in the southern port city of Tyre, security officials and witnesses said. The building was empty but 12 people nearby were injured.

12:55 p.m.: China asked the Security Council to condemn Israel's bombing of a U.N. post on the Lebanon border that killed four military observers and demand that Israel stop attacking U.N. positions and personnel. China dropped it's initial reference in a draft presidential statement expressing shock at Israel's "apparently deliberate targeting" of the post, apparently because of U.S. opposition.


12:20 p.m.: Italian Premier Romano Prodi said Italy will commit troops for a U.N. multinational force for Lebanon. Separately, Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, the chief of Israel's northern command, said he expected Israel's offensive in Lebanon to last several more weeks.

12:15 p.m.: Ireland filed an official protest with Israel alleging its senior U.N. peacekeeper in Lebanon made six telephoned warnings about Israeli shelling near a U.N. border outpost -- hours before it suffered a direct hit and the four soldiers inside were killed.

11:50 a.m.: Speaking about the killing of U.N. peacekeepers by Israeli forces, White House Spokesman Tony Snow said, "It's a horrible thing. And it is true of any innocents, whether they live within Israel or Lebanon, or they are people working for the U.N. or other international organizations who happen to be the innocent victims of hostilities." However, "there is no reason to suggest" they were targeted, Mr. Snow said. He added that Israel's decision to conduct a full probe into the bombing is the "right thing."


11:30 a.m.: A Canadian chartered ship was being sent to rescue more than 300 Americans, Australians and citizens of other nations stranded in south Lebanon, as the massive evacuation from the fighting wound down. "We hopefully will get them out on a commercial vessel later this evening," U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, head of the U.S. part of the multination evacuations, said. He added that with the pickup, more than 14,000 Americans will have been evacuated from the region.

11:15 a.m.:'s Scott Patterson reports. Wall Street hopes for a third straight day of gains were slipping away as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.30 points to 11064.41 and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell by 17.61 to 2056.29 amid some disappointing earnings results and a breakdown in talks to resolve the Middle East conflict. More.21

10 a.m.: Updated photos22 posted.

8:50 a.m.: Participants in high-level diplomatic talks in Rome failed to agree to terms for an immediate cease-fire, despite calls from Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice expressed "deep concern" for Lebanon, but reiterated the U.S. position that any solution must be "sustainable." Both Mr. Annan and Ms. Rice called for enforcement of the U.N. resolution to disarm Hezbollah, and said Iran and Syria have roles to play.


8 a.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said that Israel should be made to pay compensation for damage from military strikes. "Israel cannot go on indefinitely disregarding international law. It must be made to pay and we shall commence legal proceedings and spare no avenue to make Israel compensate the Lebanese people," he said in written remarks distributed to reporters.

7:45 a.m.: Israel wants to establish a strip of little more than a mile wide in south Lebanon that will be free of Hezbollah guerrillas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said -- giving the dimensions of Israel's new "security zone" for the first time.

6:45 a.m.: Israel insists on an international force with muscle in southern Lebanon to keep Hezbollah from threatening Israeli citizens, Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said. "If they are just observers, like a thermometer, just to inform, it is of no great use," Mr. Peres said. "We will not permit Hezbollah to deploy again and make from the border a chain of ambushes."


6:00 a.m.: Talks opened in Rome as senior officials from the U.S., Europe and several Arab nations met to work on a plan for ending more than two weeks of Mideast fighting. "The determination and unity of this group is of fundamental importance for the realization of our objectives for peace and democracy in the Middle East," said Italian Premier Romano Prodi. "This conference can represent a starting point to realize this objective."

5:30 a.m.: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Israeli Parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee that Israel won't reoccupy any part of south Lebanon, but would control a 1.9 mile area just inside the border, to ensure it is free of Hezbollah guerrillas, lawmakers said.

4:45 a.m.: Al-Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite television channel, said at least 12 Israeli soldiers had been killed in the fighting for control of Hezbollah stronghold Bint Jbeil.

4:30 a.m.: Senior officials from the U.S., Europe and several Arab nations met in Rome in the hopes of agreeing on a plan for ending more than two weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

[U.N. flag]

4:15 a.m.: The first U.N. aid convoy left Beirut for Tyre. The 10-truck convoy carried wheat flour, medicine and other supplies donated by the Lebanese government and several U.N. agencies, the World Food Program said.

3:35 a.m.: The Israeli army said six bodies of Hezbollah fighters have been brought back to Israel. An army spokesman said the bodies are being held in refrigerators until Israel's political leaders decide what to do with them. The military declined to say why it is keeping the bodies.

3:30 a.m.: A Jordanian military plane landed at Beirut airport to evacuate wounded Lebanese, becoming the first plane to land since July 13. The plane, which will be used as a field hospital, is one of three expected to land at the airport to evacuate some 150 people.

3:30 a.m.: Rockets fired from Lebanon struck the northern Israeli towns of Haifa, Carmiel and Kiryat Bialik, seriously injuring one person, medics said. It wasn't immediately clear if there were more injuries.

[Ehud Olmert]

1:45 a.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed "deep regret" over what he termed the "mistaken" killing of at least three U.N. peacekeepers. In a phone call to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, Mr. Olmert promised a thorough investigation of the airstrike on the U.N. observer outpost in southern Lebanon and said the results would be presented to the U.N.

1:20 a.m.: Hezbollah television reported one Israeli soldier was killed in heavy fighting between guerrillas and Israeli troops attempting to advance on the southern Lebanon town of Bint Jbeil. The Israeli army said several Israeli soldiers were wounded.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

11:55 p.m.: The Journal's Guy Chazan in Tel Aviv and Karby Leggett in Jerusalem report. Can Israel win a full-scale ground campaign against Hezbollah -- and what would be the cost? How Israel fares could shape the future of military operations in the Middle East. More23.

11:50 p.m.: Rounding up the latest AP news. Four U.N. observers were killed in the bombing near the border in southern Lebanon, officials said. The U.S. expressed concern about possibly hundreds of Americans stranded in south Lebanon without safe passage to evacuation points in the capital Beirut and on the coast. Cyprus, meanwhile, said foreigners fleeing the violence continued to stream into its country, and warned that it had reached its limit and would need European Union help if it was to receive more evacuees.


5:45 p.m.: U.N. officials said that a U.N. observer post was hit by an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon, killing three U.N. military observers. One more was feared dead as rescue workers tried to clear the rubble. A bomb directly hit the building and shelter of an Indian patrol base from the observer force in the town of Khiyam near the eastern end of the border with Israel, said Milos Struger, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said the strike on the U.N. border outpost was "apparently deliberate" and demanded Israel investigate.

5:40 p.m.: The Israeli army said it killed what it described as a senior Hezbollah militant in fighting in southern Lebanon. According to the army, troops in the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras killed Abu Jafr, who commanded Hezbollah's central sector along the border, in an exchange of fire.

5 p.m.: Updated photos24 posted.

3:45 p.m.: Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's political arm, said the guerrilla group didn't expect Israel to react so strongly to its capture of two Israeli soldiers, adding that his group won't lay down arms. "The truth is -- let me say this clearly -- we didn't even expect [this] response .. that [Israel] would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Mr. Komati. He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel to the July 12 cross-border raid, in which three Israelis were killed.

[Dominique de Villepin]

3:30 p.m.: French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin stressed France's wish for a cease-fire in Lebanon before any international force is deployed and said a multinational force should be placed under U.N. auspices. During a visit earlier to the Normandy town of Evreux, Mr. Villepin said France would announce "exceptional supplementary aid" for Lebanese civilians at the conference in Rome and stressed the need for "an immediate humanitarian mobilization" by all.

1:30 p.m.: WSJ's Guy Chazan and Karby Leggett report: Amid a week of high-stakes diplomacy, signs are emerging that a speedy cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah is unlikely, potentially setting the stage for a tricky new phase of intense ground warfare. More.25

[eu flag]

1:00 p.m.: The European Union will push for a cease-fire in Lebanon followed by the deployment of a multinational force whose goal would be to help disarm Hezbollah militants, officials said. Javier Solana, the EU foreign and security affairs chief, will propose at a conference of foreign ministers in Rome on Wednesday the establishment of a rapid reaction force ideally built around French, German and Spanish troops, supplemented by forces from Turkey, the Netherlands, Canada and Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

11:50 a.m.: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that the conflict between Lebanon and Israel could trigger "a hurricane" of broader fighting in the Middle East.

11: 30 a.m.: Israel's assault in Lebanon has killed 25 Hezbollah fighters, 17 of them in this weekend's intensified ground fighting near the Lebanese border, a senior Hezbollah official said, raising the previously announced toll among the guerrillas. Previously, Hezbollah had said 11 were dead. Israel has said Hezbollah is greatly underreporting its casualties.

11:25 a.m.: U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland accused Hezbollah of "cowardly blending" among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel. Separately, Saudi King Abdullah ordered a grant of $250 million to the Palestinians, according to a statement read out on state television, hours after a separate announcement of donations totaling $1.5 billion to Lebanon.


11:10 a.m.: The first shipment of U.S. aid for Lebanon pulled into Beirut port and humanitarian groups were pushing more truck convoys of blankets, medicines and flour to tens of thousands of refugees and residents in the war-torn south. Military helicopters brought in the U.S. shipment, the first since President Bush ordered a Navy task force that had been evacuating Americans from Lebanon to shift gears and start bringing in aid. The shipment included two large-scale medical packages "aimed at meeting the most urgent needs," holding enough medicine and health supplies for 20,000 people for three months, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement. The goods were given to the international Red Cross to distribute.

11 a.m.: Updated photos26 posted.

[Vladimir Putin]

10:30 a.m.: "You are aware of our position, which is that not a single issue, however complicated it is, should be resolved through terrorist measures," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. "The Israeli state has the right to and must live in conditions of security. However, the lack of a settlement of the main issues in the Middle East, of course, again and again gives birth to problems [like those] which we are encountering today." Earlier, he said the Lebanon crisis shows the need for increasing the effectiveness of the U.N.


10:10 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel will maintain a security zone in southern Lebanon until an international force arrives there. Mr. Peretz didn't say whether Israeli soldiers would remain in Lebanon or would maintain the zone using airstrikes and artillery fire. "There will be a security zone, which will be under the control of our forces if there is not a multinational force," he said.

9:50 a.m.: The first edition of a newspaper owned by the Iranian version of Hezbollah appeared on newsstands with messages of support for its Lebanese cousins in their fight against Israel. The first edition of "Hezbollah" carried no significant report on the current fighting in Lebanon.

9:20 a.m.: A cease-fire must be in place before there is any thought of sending international troops to Lebanon, Germany's defense minister said after meeting his French and Polish counterparts.


8:45 a.m.: Israel will allow the opening of safe passages in Lebanon for the transport of humanitarian aid to all areas of the country, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during their meeting earlier in the day, according to the Israeli leader's office. A team of Israeli military officials will meet with international military experts to outline the pathways.

8:25 a.m.: "The only grounds for dealing with the two Israeli detainees held by the Lebanese Hezbollah party and the Israeli solider captured by the Palestinian militants, is an exchange of prisoners," said Mohammad Nazal, member of Hamas's political bureau in Damascus. "There will be no talk about any other deal." He also raised the possibility of Hamas teaming up with Hezbollah to negotiate terms that would lead to such a prisoner swap.

8:20 a.m.: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has decreed donations totaling $1.5 billion to Lebanon, the king said in a statement read out on state television. He has assigned $500 million for the reconstruction of Lebanon, and $1 billion to be deposited in Lebanon's central bank to support the economy.

[Mahmoud Abbas]

8:15 a.m.: Talking to reporters here after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Secretary of State Rice said, "We need to get to a sustainable peace, there must be a way for people to reconcile their differences."

7:50 a.m.: Hezbollah rockets fell again in northern Israel, killing a teenage girl and injuring three others, medics said. The latest attack struck the Arab town of Maghar. At least 40 rockets have fallen so far on northern Israel Tuesday.

6:45 a.m.: Club-wielding Palestinian police scuffled with hundreds of Palestinians who were holding an anti-U.S. protest outside a government building where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was about to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Separately, Arab nations will insist on an immediate cease-fire and that Lebanon's government curbs the Hezbollah guerrilla group when they discuss the Lebanese-Israeli crisis with Western states in Rome on Wednesday, Jordan's foreign minister said.


6:00 a.m.: "I have no doubt there are those who wish to strangle a democratic and sovereign Lebanon in its crib," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said as she stood beside Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as they prepared to meet in his office. "We, of course, also urgently want to end the violence." She reiterated the U.S. position that a cessation of hostilities in Lebanon must come with conditions that make an enduring peace. "It is time for a new Middle East," she said. "It is time to say to those that don't want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not."

5:20 a.m.: Lebanese guerrillas fired more than a dozen rockets toward Haifa, and Israeli media reported several people were injured. Two rockets hit near Haifa's Rambam Hospital, witnesses said.

4:30 a.m.: Vice Premier Shimon Peres told Israel's parliament that Hezbollah has been defeated morally and will also lose its military confrontation against Israel. "In this war, there is no alternative to victory against terrorists," he said.

[Israel flag]

2:45 a.m.: Israel's ground offensive will not go beyond southern Lebanon and would focus on trying to destroy Hezbollah outposts and rocket launching sites, Israeli Col. Hemi Livni said. "The intention is to deal with the Hezbollah infrastructure that is within reach," Col. Livni said. "That means in southern Lebanon, not going beyond that."

2:30 a.m.: Israeli troops prepared to complete the takeover of Bint Jbail, a Hezbollah stronghold that has been the focus of fierce fighting in southern Lebanon, military officials said. Although Israeli forces surrounded the village, imposed a closure and seized some houses on the outskirts, fighting with guerrillas continued.

[Ehud Olmert]

2:15 a.m.: Israel is determined to continue its fight against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and will take the "most severe measures" against those firing rockets on Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said as he prepared to meet with Secretary of State Rice in Jerusalem.

1 a.m.: Where things stand. In Israel: Forty Israelis have been killed, including 24 members of the military, according to authorities. More than 30 soldiers and more than 300 civilians have been wounded, according to rescue officials. In Lebanon: At least 391 have been killed and 1,596 wounded, according to Lebanese security officials. Among them are 20 Lebanese army soldiers and at least 11 Hezbollah guerrillas. Among the civilian deaths are eight Canadians, two Kuwaiti nationals, one Iraqi, one Sri Lankan and one Jordanian.

12:45 a.m.: The Israeli army is investigating whether a helicopter crash in northern Israel that killed the pilot and gunner was caused by a technical failure or friendly fire from Israeli artillery, mortar or other types of fire. The army said the helicopter was not hit by fire from Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

12:26 a.m.: An Israeli missile struck a house in south Lebanon, killing seven people, hospital and security officials said. Another person, a woman, was wounded in the attack in the market town of Nabatiyeh. It was not immediately clear why Israel targeted the house, which belonged to a man named Mohammed Ghandour. He and his son were among the seven killed.

Monday, July 24, 2006

3:45 p.m.: Secretary of State Rice arrived in Israel for talks, saying that she was looking for a sustainable peace. "Every peace has to be based on enduring principles," Ms. Rice said, speaking to the media before she met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. "Ultimately, a Middle East that is peaceful and democratic will be a place where peace is sustainable."


2:45 p.m.: WSJ's Jay Solomon and Neil King Jr. report. The Bush administration's announcement of what it termed a "major" humanitarian drive for Lebanon comes as international aid workers warn that the number of displaced people inside the country could quickly reach one million. More.28

2:30 p.m.: U.S. officials said their evacuations of Americans from Lebanon were wrapping up, with about 11,700 brought safely out as of Monday, but a group of 300 believed trapped in the south may have been left behind.


12:50 p.m.: Secretary of State Rice left Lebanon by helicopter, the U.S. Embassy said. She was headed to Israel later in the day. Meanwhile, the White House again played down the need for an immediate cease-fire. "Although we certainly do support the idea of a cease-fire, again, it's under the conditions that are going to make it durable and sustainable," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. He also mentioned plans for assistance to Lebanon. "At the order of the president, humanitarian supplies will start arriving in Lebanon tomorrow by helicopter and by ship," Mr. Snow said. "We are working with Israel and Lebanon to open up humanitarian corridors."

12:30 p.m.: The Israeli Army said two helicopter pilots were killed earlier Monday when the Apache craft crashed near the Lebanese border while attempting an emergency landing. The army said the gunship crashed when it hit an electric wire.


11:00 a.m.: Where things stand. In Israel: Hezbollah continued its barrage of missile attacks on northern Israel, firing more than 40 rockets and slightly wounding 13. Overall, the death toll stands at 37, with 17 people killed by Hezbollah rockets and 20 soldiers killed in the fighting. In Lebanon: At least 384 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 20 soldiers and 11 Hezbollah fighters, according to security officials. At least 600,000 Lebanese have fled their homes, according to the WHO -- with one estimate by Lebanon's finance minister putting the number at 750,000, nearly 20% of the population.

[See a slideshow]29

10:15 a.m.: Updated photos30 posted.

9:45 a.m.: Secretary of State Rice also paid a short visit to the speaker of Lebanon's parliament, Nabih Berri, an ally of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Going into the session at Mr. Berri's lavish office and residence, Ms. Rice said, "I am deeply concerned about the Lebanese people and what they are enduring. I am obviously concerned about the humanitarian situation."

7:50 a.m.: Secretary of State Rice met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who greeted her with a kiss on both cheeks. Ms. Rice told him, "Thank you for your courage and steadfastness." Mr. Saniora told Ms. Rice he was glad to have her in Lebanon, adding that his government is looking to "put an end to the war that is being inflicted on Lebanon.''

7:15 a.m.: The Hezbollah representative in Iran struck a defiant tone, warning that his militant group plans to widen its attacks on Israel. "We are going to make Israel not safe for Israelis. There will be no place they are safe," Hossein Safiadeen told a conference that included the Tehran-based representative of the Palestinian group Hamas and the ambassadors from Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Authority.

7:00 a.m.: Israeli artillery fire killed three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Palestinian hospital officials said. The artillery fire came after the army said that Palestinians launched six rockets into Israel, causing no casualties.

6:45 a.m.: An Israeli Apache helicopter crashed near the Lebanese border while attempting an emergency landing, and there were two casualties, the army said. The crash sparked a huge blaze and firefighters were struggling to contain the flames and allow rescue workers to reach the burning helicopter.


6:30 a.m.: The Lebanese prime minister's office said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Beirut, the Associated Press reports. Ms. Rice hadn't been expected to visit Lebanon. She had been scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and then travel to Rome for talks Wednesday among an array of European and Arab ministers. (See full story31.)

6 a.m.: Malaysia's foreign minister, Syed Hamid Albar, said at a press conference that he is urging the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, comprised of leaders of Muslim countries, to hold a summit to discuss how to stop the fighting.

5:15 a.m.: The Associated Press said the Voice of Lebanon, a radio station, is reporting that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will stop in Beirut Monday afternoon local time. A stopover there hasn't been on the itinerary for her Mideast trip. The report hadn't been confirmed.


3:15 a.m.: Israeli Brig. Gen. Alon Friedman told Israel Army Radio that the ground operation in Lebanon is expanding. "The scope continues to grow in recent days," he said. "We are advancing." Brig. Gen. Friedman said the operation would continue for up to 10 days "in order to achieve the basic goals we set down," including trying to stop Hezbollah rocket fire.

2:30 a.m.: New Zealand said it strongly supports U.N. efforts to bring about an immediate cease-fire to the Middle East conflict and negotiate a solution to the crisis. It also has asked Hezbollah to stop its rocket attacks on Israel, and for states with influence over Hamas and Hezbollah to act with restraint in the interests of the wider international community.

1:30 a.m.: Israeli troops, which crossed into Lebanon at daybreak, took control of the area surrounding Bint Jbail, a Hezbollah stronghold, after a heavy artillery barrage in the area. However, the army did not take the town, military officials said. Nine soldiers were wounded in the attack. Israel said its troops captured two Hezbollah guerrillas, the first in 12 days of attacks on Lebanon.

Week 2: No Quick Resolution
July 23, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

11:50 p.m.: Israeli troops crossed into Lebanon at daybreak. Israel Radio reported that the forces were moving on the town of Bint Jbail in southern Lebanon, known as a stronghold of Hezbollah guerrillas.

11:45 p.m.: Israeli airstrikes overnight destroyed nine rocket launchers in the Tyre area, where Hezbollah guerrillas have been firing rockets at Haifa.

[Go to map.]1

11:15 p.m.: Earlier today, three missiles leveled a transmission factory in Fatqa, about 16 kilometers northwest of Beirut. See an updated interactive map2 of other developments.

11:15 p.m.: WSJ's Karen Richardson and Yasmine El-Rashidi report. The Israeli-Lebanese conflict has been weighing on stock markets throughout the world for the past couple of weeks -- except in some of those countries closest to the conflict. Investors from nearby Persian Gulf countries tend to draw sharp distinctions between their home markets and those located westward on the same continent. More.3

11:15 p.m.: WSJ's Jay Solomon, Karby Leggett, Guy Chazan and Neil King Jr. report. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in the Middle East Monday, the U.S. and Israel must balance their goal of defanging the militant group Hezbollah against the growing toll the conflict is taking on Israel, Lebanon and President Bush's hopes for reshaping the region. More.4

11 p.m.: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in remarks published Monday that an Israeli ground invasion would not prevent Hezbollah from firing rockets into northern Israel. "Any Israeli incursion will have no political results if it does not achieve its declared goals, primarily an end to the rocketing of Zionist settlements in northern occupied Palestine," Mr. Nasrallah told As-Safir newspaper.

6:51 p.m.: Israeli forces captured two Hezbollah fighters during a battle in south Lebanon, Israeli military officials said.

5:15 p.m.: Saudi Arabia asked President Bush to intervene in Israel's military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon to stop the mounting deaths. "We requested a cease-fire to allow for a cessation of hostilities," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said after an Oval Office meeting with Bush. Mr. Saud said he gave the president a letter from Saudi King Abdullah asking that Bush help seek an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East conflict.


2:00 p.m.: In a live interview on CNN's "Late Edition" Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora identified three issues in the ongoing conflict with Israel that he feels must be resolved to establish long-lasting peace: Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons, the occupied Shebaa Farms area, and the need for Lebanon's government to rein in its territory and control all of the weapons in the nation. He said it was premature to discuss an international peacekeeping force along its borders, but if it happens, "it has to be under the flag of the United Nations."

12:00 p.m.: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said on "Late Edition" and "Fox News Sunday" that the Bush administration would seriously consider an Israeli suggestion for an international peacekeeping force -- preferably led by NATO -- along Lebanon's border. "We have been looking carefully at the possibility of a multinational force, perhaps authorized by the Security Council, but not a U.N.-helmeted force," Mr. Bolton said.


10:30 a.m.: President Bush's chief of staff Josh Bolten said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that international peacekeepers might be needed in Lebanon to help end the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants, but that U.S. troop involvement was unlikely, echoing earlier comments from Secretary of State Rice.

10:00 a.m.: A photographer working for a Lebanese magazine was killed when an Israeli strike hit near her taxi in southern Lebanon, the first journalist to die in Israel's offensive, security officials said.

9:40 a.m.: Updated photos5 posted.

7:50 a.m.: Lebanese security officials say an Israeli missile struck a minibus carrying Lebanese fleeing a southern village, killing 3 and wounding 13.


7:45 a.m.: Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz told the Cabinet that the army's current offensive is not an invasion of Lebanon, but rather a series of limited raids into the area.

7 a.m.: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that Israel had "pushed the button of its own destruction" by launching its military campaign against Hezbollah.

6:45 a.m.: Mr. Peretz said that Israel would accepted a temporary international force, preferably headed by NATO, deployed along the Lebanese border to keep Hezbollah guerrillas away from Israel, according to officials in Mr. Peretz's office.

4 a.m.: At least a dozen explosions shook Haifa in what appeared to be a new wave of Hezbollah rocket attacks on the area. At least two people were killed in the attack.

3 a.m.: Mr. Peretz said the offensive would continue. "We are continuing with the operation, and the goal is to create a situation in which we have as broad a space for diplomatic movement as possible," Mr. Peretz said after meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "The goals we set for ourselves will be achieved."

12 a.m.: Five large explosions shook Beirut as Israeli warplanes again pounded Hezbollah's stronghold in the capital's southern suburbs. Israeli bombs hit a textile factory in the border town of al-Manara, killing one person and injuring two.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

11:30 p.m.: Updated photos6 posted.

11:15 p.m.: The body of a fifth Israeli soldier killed in a battle Thursday in the village of Maroun al-Ras was recovered, the military said. Four bodies were recovered shortly after the fight, but in an unusual case for Israel, the fifth was left behind until Saturday because of heavy gunfire.

11 p.m.: The Israeli military announced it would loosen a 12-day blockade to allow humanitarian ships into Beirut's port and defined the coastal road heading north to Tripoli as a land corridor for aid. It also said it would allow aid flights into Beirut, though the airport is too damaged by missiles for planes to land. But Israel did not define a safe passage route to the south -- where the bombardment is heaviest, the roads most dangerous and the need most extreme.

[Israel warplane]
AP/Wide World Photos

7:30 p.m.: Israeli warplanes struck Sidon, targeting a religious compound run by a Shiite Muslim cleric close to Hezbollah. At least four people were wounded in the airstrike, hospital officials said.

5:30 p.m.: France will participate in an international peacekeeping force for Lebanon under certain conditions, French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie said. Such a force would have "no meaning," Ms. Alliot-Marie warned, without contributor countries identifying in advance its duties and how these would be carried out. She didn't say how large the force would be.

4:15 p.m.: Israeli missiles leveled an agricultural compound in Baalbek belonging to Hezbollah and targeted a factory producing prefab houses near the main highway linking Beirut to Damascus. At least two people were wounded. Warplanes and helicopters also bombed Nabi Sheet, in the nearby hills, wounding at least five people.

[United Nations]

4 p.m.: The United Nation's humanitarian chief said it would take more than $100 million to help the hundreds of thousands of Lebanese who have been hurt or displaced since the Israeli bombings began. Addressing reporters in Cyprus ahead of his trip to the Middle East, Jan Egeland said he would launch an international appeal for the next three months for contributions from the international community.

3 p.m.: The World Health Organization raised its estimate of the number of people displaced by Israeli-Hezbollah fighting in Lebanon to 600,000. The report by the U.N.'s health agency also raised its estimate of the number of people killed to more than 350.

2:30 p.m.: Israeli troops claimed they drove out Hezbollah militants from the southern village of Maroun al-Ras after a day of ground and air assaults. Hezbollah, however, denied the report, insisting that it had destroyed three Israeli tanks and were fighting off the attackers. At 9 p.m. local time in northern Lebanon, Israeli warplanes were still launching new airstrikes.

1:50 p.m.: One Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. employee was killed and two others were wounded during Israeli airstrikes at Mount Lebanon, CNN reported. The airstrikes destroyed at least six transmission towers north of Beirut, a Lebanese government official reported. The attacks disrupted television and phone service, including cell phones, throughout northern Lebanon.

1:45 p.m.: Hezbollah rockets hit an apartment building in the northern Israel city of Safed. Two residents, members of the same family, were wounded, police and medics said.

1:05 p.m.: Hezbollah claimed that its guerrillas have destroyed three Israeli tanks and caused casualties among Israeli troops in the incursion at the village of Maroun el-Ras in the last three days. A spokesman for the Israeli military said he had no infomation about tanks being hit or about casualties in the fighting around the village.

1 p.m.: The Cypriot foreign minister, George Lillikas, appealed for help in handling the thousands of people fleeing violence in Lebanon, saying as many as 25,000 evacuees had already arrived on the island and that the number would likely triple. Officials said Friday that the country had enough food, medicine and accommodation for the evacuees so far, but that more planes were needed. Asked whether Cyprus might consider turning boats away, Lillikas replied: "It depends on the capacity we have. So I hope we will not be in this difficult dilemma."

12:40 p.m.: Hezbollah fired rockets at two cities in northern Israel, wounding two people and setting several cars on fire. The rockets fell in Carmiel and Nahariya, wounding one person in each town, and setting several parked and empty cars on fire in the streets of Nahariya, police said.

[Lebanese residents flee]
AP/Wide World Photos

12:30 p.m.: Israeli forces urged residents of 14 villages in southern Lebanon to leave by 4 p.m. on Saturday ahead of planned air strikes against suspected Hezbollah guerrillas, military sources said.

12:15 p.m.: The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the U.S.'s largest Muslim civil liberties group, released a statement, calling the Bush administration's decision to rush delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel "unconscionable." The New York Times reported Saturday that the U.S. agreed to speed delivery of satellite and laser-guided bombs, at Israel's request.

12:10 p.m.: The prime ministers of Spain and Turkey appealed to world leaders and international bodies to help stop hostilities in the Middle East, saying the violence threatened to drag the entire region into a "chaotic deadlock." In a joint declaration, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Spain's Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered to contribute to efforts toward a cease-fire. Turkey's Erdogan spoke with Bush by phone earlier in the day.

10:50 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas fired at an Israeli military base near the Lebanese border, wounding one soldier, the military said. The attack occurred at the Nurit army base near the Israeli town of Avivim. Military sources said the attack apparently involved sniper fire from guerrillas on the Lebanese side of the border. It was the first time an Israeli soldier was wounded on an Israeli military base since the country began its offensive in Lebanon on July 12.


10:30 a.m.: In his weekly radio address, President Bush said that his administration's diplomatic efforts in the Mideast will focus on strategy for confronting Hezbollah and its supporters in Syria and Iran. Bush repeated his position that Hezbollah is responsible for starting the fight by capturing Israeli soldiers and launching rocket attacks against Israeli cities. "Secretary Rice will make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks and the nations that support it," Bush said.

8:30 a.m.: Israeli tanks, bulldozers and personnel carriers knocked down a border fence. The artillery and about 25 soldiers raced past a U.N. outpost and headed into Maroun al-Ras, where other Israeli soldiers already had control.

7:40 a.m.: Israeli warplanes blasted communications and television transmission towers in the central and northern Lebanese mountains Saturday knocking the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. off the air, the Associated Press reported.

5:30 a.m.: Israeli troops backed by artillery and tank fire seized control of the Lebanese border village of Maroun al-Ras on Saturday and recovered weapons from another town in Hezbollah territory, the Associated Press reported. Israeli soldiers in armored personal carriers traveled to and from the village, but there was no large-scale movement.

1:15 a.m.: Israeli aircraft and artillery pounded southern Lebanon early Saturday, apparently focusing on sectors across the border from Israel has massed tanks and troops ahead of a limited ground operation, the Associated Press reported. Roads and villages near the Blue Line defining the border between Israel and Lebanon were bombed through the night, witnesses said.

Friday, July 21, 2006

4:52 p.m.: Canada has asked the Israeli foreign ministry about an unconfirmed report that a ship ferrying Canadian evacuees out of Lebanon was attacked, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said. MacKay said the request for information came after he had heard reports that a vessel had been fired upon by Israeli forces and that there had been some injuries.

3:44 p.m.: The Israeli army confirmed some of its troops have been operating in Lebanon for days although no major incursion has been launched. An official from the U.N. monitoring force in south Lebanon, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the press, told the Associated Press in Beirut that between 300 and 500 troops are believed to be in the western sector of the border, backed by as many as 30 tanks.


2:45 p.m.: Vice President Cheney pointed to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah as fresh evidence of the ongoing battle against terrorism that underscores the need to keep President Bush's Republican allies in control of Congress. "This conflict is a long way from over," Cheney said at a fundraising appearance for a GOP congressional candidate. "It's going to be a battle that will last for a very long time. It is absolutely essential that we stay the course."

[cnn screen sm]

1:45 p.m.: Secretary of State Rice, heading for a weekend trip to the troubled Middle East, said she would work with allies in the region to help create conditions for "stability and lasting peace," at an afternoon new conference. She ruled out a quick cease-fire as a "false promise" and defended her decision not to talk to officials from Hezbollah or Syria. "Syria knows what it needs to do and Hezbollah is the source of the problem," Rice said at the State Department as she outlined U.S. hopes for a diplomatic solution to the current crisis. See CNBC-Dow Jones video of Rice's remarks7, plus CNBC's Carl Quintanilla reports8 from Haifa, Israel.

1:25 p.m.: Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told the Associated Press that Israel would not rule out an eventual international stabilization force. But he said Israel was first determined to take out Hezbollah's command and control centers and weapons stockpiles. CNN video shows Israeli forces massing on the Lebanese border.

12:20 p.m.: The White House says President Bush and Secretary of State Rice will meet with Saudi Arabian officials on Sunday to discuss the Middle East situation. State Department briefing is expected at 1:30 p.m. Separately, the White House announced U.K.'s Blair is meeting with Bush next Friday.

12:05 p.m.: Russia's Putin and Germany's Merkel called for concerted international efforts to end the conflict in Lebanon, the Kremlin said. During telephone talks between Putin and Merkel, the two leaders emphasized "the need for concerted efforts by the international community to normalize the situation in the Middle East and highlighted the U.N. Security Council's role in the process," a Kremlin statement said.


11:55 a.m.: In a startling twist that shows how tense the atmosphere now is in the Arab world, Secretary of State Rice will not be traveling next week to any Arab capitals. Instead, she will visit Israel and then loop back to Italy for a meeting with top officials from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and various European countries. Diplomats say that Egypt was too skittish to host a gathering on the Lebanon conflict in Cairo, fearing it would spark a popular backlash. More in Washington Wire.9

11:25 a.m.: In the southern city of Tyre, Lebanese army troops buried 72 people killed in recent days of bombardment in a mass grave in an empty lot of land just outside their barracks in the city. Volunteers put the bodies, many of them children, inside wooden coffins and sprayed the names of the victims on top.

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11:00 a.m.: Updated photos11 and maps12 posted.

10:20 a.m.: Secretary of State Rice will lay out U.S. plans for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting today, an administration official said. Israeli officials said they expect Rice to arrive in Israel on Tuesday or Wednesday after visiting Arab nations.

8:20 a.m.: Where things stand. In Israel: At least five rockets fired by Hezbollah struck Haifa, wounding 10 people. Overall, at least 32 Israelis have been killed, including 17 service members -- three of them killed in military operations Thursday and early Friday. In Lebanon: Over 300 Lebanese have been killed. Friday, Israeli warplanes pounded Lebanon's main road link to Syria with missiles and set passenger buses on fire; part of Lebanon's longest bridge collapsed.

8:15 a.m.: The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is deteriorating rapidly as the country becomes more isolated because of damage to roads, bridges and other structures, the U.N. and Red Cross said. The U.N. estimated that about a half-million people have been displaced in Lebanon, with 130,000 fleeing to Syria and about 45,000 believed to be in need of assistance.

6:30 a.m.: At least three rockets struck the Israeli port city of Haifa, the first barrage in nearly 24 hours on the country's third-biggest city. Rescue officials didn't immediately say if there were casualties but Israel's Channel 10 TV reported that at least two people had been injured.

6:25 a.m.: French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said his country was dispatching urgent aid to Lebanon by air and sea and he called for safe passage. Mr. Douste-Blazy made his comments in Beirut, saying he wanted to express France's solidarity with the Lebanese people and that there was a need to help civilian victims.

6:00 a.m.: The Israeli army said it is set to call up more reserve troops to augment its current forces in northern Israel, widening speculation that a major ground offensive against Lebanon is moving beyond the planning stage. The army said the call-up would likely come later in the day.

5:20 a.m.: A U.N.-run observation post just inside Israel was struck during fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants. The army blamed Hezbollah rockets but a U.N. officer said it was an artillery shell fired by the Israeli Defense Force. None of the Ghanian troops inside the bomb shelters inside was injured.

3:30 a.m.: Israeli forces were pulling out of a Gaza refugee camp after a two-day sweep that killed at least 15 people, most of them militants, but the military said it would continue operating there and in other places in the coming days in its campaign against Gaza militants. Four Palestinians were killed Friday after a house owned by a Hamas activist was struck by an Israeli tank shell.

2:00 a.m.: Australia pledged $1.9 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, with $1.5 million going to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Lebanon.

1:35 a.m.: Four Israeli soldiers were killed and several others wounded in a clash with Hezbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon near the border while looking for Hezbollah guerrillas, bases and weapons, the military said. The military said Hezbollah also sustained losses.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

11:25 a.m.: Israeli forces resumed attacks on Lebanon at daybreak, with a large loud explosion heard in Beirut. The Al-Arabyia TV channel said the strike had targeted Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold that has been pounded by Israeli missiles over the past few days. Israeli aircraft also targeted the town of Nabi Sheet in the eastern Bekaa valley, witnesses and Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said.

11:12 p.m.: The Journal's Jay Solomon in Beirut, Lebanon, and Karby Leggett in Jerusalem report. Hezbollah's dual nature -- suspected tool of Iran's regional ambitions and Lebanese group with its own charismatic leader -- complicates the search for a solution to the crisis in the Middle East. More13.

11:08 p.m.: The Journal's Philip Shishkin reports. Israel's military campaign in Lebanon is further entrenching the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, capping a tumultuous year in which the leader consolidated control over the ruling party, cracked down on the opposition and was forced to end his country's occupation of Lebanon. More14.


11:04 p.m.: The Journal's Yochi J. Dreazen reports. The Bush administration's effort to buy more time for Israel's military offensive against Hezbollah is itself running out of time, as calls from other nations for an immediate cease-fire mount. More15.

10:40 p.m.: Pitched battles raged between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters on the border, and Israel warned hundreds of thousands of people to flee Southern Lebanon "immediately," preparing for a likely ground offensive to set up a buffer zone, the Associated Press reports. More16.

8:35 p.m.: The Online Journal's Matt Phillips reports. As fighting continues along the Israeli-Lebanese border, a small army of bloggers and photographers are filing digital dispatches. The grainy, raw, sometimes unsteady and often unverifiable footage gives viewers insight into everyday life in the war-torn region. (Warning: Some links include graphic content.) More17.

4:30 p.m.: Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the group's leadership remains intact, appearing on Al-Jazeera a day after Israel said it bombed a bunker where he may have been hiding. Nasrallah said there was "no way in the world" he would surrender two Israeli soldiers snatched by his guerrillas on July 12 -- setting off the current fighting -- except as part of a prisoner exchange.


4:15 p.m.: Lebanon's army, which so far has sat on the sidelines of the violence raging in the country, will join the fight against Israel if Israeli forces invade the country, Defense Minister Elias Murr said on Al-Jazeera television. "The Lebanese army -- and I stress -- the Lebanese army will resist and defend and will prove that it is an army that deserves respect," he said. In most of the previous Israeli attacks, including in 1978 and the 1982 invasion in which Beirut was occupied, the Lebanese army largely stayed out of the fighting. Twenty Lebanese soldiers have been killed in strikes on their bases during the nine-day-old Israeli bombardment of Lebanon.

2:10 p.m.: Two heavy explosions shook Beirut after nightfall, apparently from a new Israeli strike on the capital's southern neighborhood, a Hezbollah stronghold. The blast went off around 9 p.m., a time Israel has hit south Beirut like clockwork the past three nights. Lebanese television said the strikes hit south Beirut but had no word on casualties. Many of south Beirut's residents have fled their homes.

12:45 p.m.: Countering an assessment by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Israel isn't going too far in its military efforts against Lebanon's Hezbollah militia. "I don't think that the use of force by Israel is excessive," Mr. Bolton said in an interview on MSNBC.

12:20 p.m.: A large fight between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas broke out on the Lebanese side of the border, the Israeli army said. Israel suffered several casualties, the army said. The army didn't provide numbers or conditions of the casualties.


11:50 a.m.: Italian daily Corriere della Sera said it stood by an interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora in which it quoted him as saying Hezbollah had created a "state within a state" and must be disarmed, even though his office said the premier had been misquoted. Read the interview18 (in Italian).

11:35 a.m.: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an immediate halt to the escalating conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia but said "there are serious obstacles to reaching a cease-fire or even to diminishing the violence quickly." He said Hezbollah's actions in launching rockets into Israel and abducting Israeli soldiers "hold an entire nation hostage." But he also condemned Israel's "excessive use of force."


11:20 a.m.: White House spokesman Tony Snow defended the U.S. stance in the Mideast crisis, brushing off allegations that the nation isn't pressuring Israel to stop its attacks on Hezbollah militants in Lebanon that have claimed civilian lives. "We think that Hezbollah has gone too far in holding captive the southern part of Lebanon," he said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to discuss diplomatic efforts to end the violence, and the possibility of international troops to police a peace, over dinner Thursday in New York with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

11:00 a.m.: The International Monetary Fund can't fully assess economic damage from the current violence between Israel and Lebanon, but it would consider reconstruction aid to Lebanon as events unfold, an IMF spokesman said.

10:20 a.m.: Syrian President Bashar Assad Thursday told Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov Syria was prepared to help promote a cease-fire in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Separately, Israel refused to rule out a full-scale invasion. "All our options are open," an Israeli army spokesman said.

8:50 a.m.: Israeli forces killed three people and wounded six in the Gaza Strip, officials said after the army warned that homes hiding weapons would be attacked.


8:30 a.m.: Where things stand. Lebanon: At least 306 people have been killed since the Israeli campaign began, according to the security forces control room that collates casualties. A wave of bombings Wednesday killed as many as 70 people, according to Lebanese television, making it the deadliest day since the fighting began. The U.N. has said at least a half million people have been displaced in Lebanon. Israel: 29 people have been killed, including 14 soldiers.

8:25 a.m.: The office of Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora said he was misquoted when he made strong statements about Hezbollah. Italy's Corriere della Sera quoted him as saying in an interview that the Shiite militant group has created a "state within a state," adding: "The entire world must help us disarm Hezbollah. But first we need to reach a cease-fire." Read the interview20 (in Italian).

8:15 a.m.: Updated photos21 posted.

7:35 a.m.: Pope Benedict XVI called for an immediate cease-fire and the opening of humanitarian corridors so relief can reach the civilian population. The latest Vatican appeal repeated the position that Lebanon's integrity and sovereignty must be respected, that Israelis have the right to live in peace in their country and that the Palestinians have a right to their own state.

6:50 a.m.: A small group of U.S. Marines hit the beaches in Beirut for the first time in decades to help evacuate thousands of fleeing Americans as the international effort to evacuate the remaining foreigners in Lebanon looked set to peak. Meanwhile, the first of several flights carrying U.S. evacuees from Lebanon has arrived at Baltimore-Washington International/Thurgood Marshall Airport.

6:30 a.m.: Russia sharply criticized Israel over its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas, saying its actions have gone "far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation" and repeating calls for an immediate cease-fire. The Foreign Ministry said that Russia affirms the need to fight terrorism and called for the immediate release of Israeli hostages, but added that the "unprecedented scale of the casualties and destruction" in Lebanon indicates that Israel is using too much force.

4:55 a.m.: The EU called for a cease-fire in southern Lebanon before international peacekeepers can be deployed and pledged $12.5 million to help civilian victims of the conflict. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the money would be dedicated to those in most urgent need "so that we can express our solidarity to the civilians that are suffering for this terrible conflict."

4:45 a.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said Hezbollah has created a "state within a state" and must be disarmed. In an interview published in an Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, he said the Shiite militia has been doing the bidding of Syria and Iran, and that it can only be disarmed with the help of the international community and once a cease-fire has been achieved in the current Middle East fighting. Mr. Siniora said Lebanon is still too weak to attack Hezbollah's stranglehold in the south of the country on its own. Read the interview22 (in Italian).

3:40 a.m.: The Israeli army dropped leaflets on towns and villages in the Gaza Strip warning residents that anyone with an arsenal of weapons in their homes would be attacked. After dropping the leaflets, military officials said the army was adopting a "new policy" of attacking homes in civilian areas where weapons such as homemade rockets are secretly stored.

3:15 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas clashed with Israeli troops on the Lebanese side of the border for the second consecutive day. The Israeli army said Hezbollah guerrillas wounded at least two Israeli soldiers in heavy fighting, but it wasn't immediately clear what caused the clashes. After a relatively quiet night, Israeli warplanes renewed airstrikes against Lebanon as fighting entered its ninth day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

11:50 p.m.: A luxury cruise ship carrying 1,000 Americans arrived in Cyprus after a nine-hour journey, completing the first in a massive relay to evacuate thousands of U.S. citizens from war-torn Lebanon. The Orient Queen was just one among dozens of cruise ships taking part in the evacuation of thousands of foreigners from Lebanon.

10:45 p.m.: The Journal's Jay Solomon and Mariam Fam in Beirut, Karby Leggett in Jerusalem and Neil King Jr. in Washington report. Israel weighed stepping up a ground offensive in southern Lebanon amid doubts that the air assault will be sufficient to dislodge Hezbollah. The move would mark a major escalation in the conflict. More23.

10:42 p.m.: The Journal's Yochi J. Dreazen reports. United Nations peacekeeping talks envision a big force and aggressive posture, but past peacekeeping failures in the Mideast are shaping the debate over the size, nature and purpose of a military presence. More24.

5:20 p.m.: Israeli warplanes dropped bombs late Wednesday on a bunker in south Beirut where senior Hezbollah leaders were thought to be, the military said. Military officials said a wave of aircraft dropped 23 tons of explosives on the bunker.


4:20 p.m. A rift is emerging between the EU and U.S. over whether Israel should cease its offensive. The Europeans fear mounting civilian casualties will play into the hands of militants and weaken Lebanon's elected government. The Bush administration, while noting these concerns, is giving Israel a tacit green light to take the time it needs to neutralize the Shiite militant group. "A cease-fire that would leave intact a terrorist infrastructure is unacceptable," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. By contrast, the EU has called for a cease-fire now.
Washington Wire: Snow Says Past Syrian Teas Bore No Fruit25

3 p.m. Lebanon's Daily Star reports on economic damage. "The production facilities of at least five companies in key industrial sectors -- including the country's largest dairy farm, Liban Lait; a paper mill; a packaging firm and a pharmaceutical plant -- have been disabled or completely destroyed. Industry insiders say the losses will cripple the economy for decades to come." More.26


12:30 p.m.: In a televised speech, Lebanon's Prime Minister Siniora says 300 people have been killed and 1,000 wounded so far in Israeli attacks in his country, and he has appealed for an end to hostilities. In a swipe at the international community, particularly the U.S., which said Israel was acting in self defense, Saniora said, "Is this what the international community calls the right of self defense? Is this the price to pay?" "We will spare no avenue to make Israel compensate" for the destruction inflicted on the country, he told the gathering, which included the U.S. ambassador.

11:15 a.m.: The AP rounds up Wednesday's violence. Military: Israel said two soldiers were killed, and Hezbollah reported the death of one guerrilla. In Lebanon: Five people were killed when a missile struck a neighborhood in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh. In Srifa, airstrikes flattened 15 houses. One person was killed in the village of Ghaziyeh when a missile struck a building that housed a Hezbollah-affiliated social institution. Four people were killed in an air raid on the Lebanese village of Loussi, police said. Planes also hit Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold. In Israel: A Hezbollah rocket slammed into a building in the mainly Arab town of Nazareth in northern Israel, killing three people, including two children, Israel said. Updated map of Wednesday's developments.27

[slideshow promoSM Israel]28

9:30 a.m.: New Wednesday photos posted29 in photo gallery.

9:25 a.m.: A cruise liner evacuating more than 1,000 U.S. citizens left Beirut's port for Cyprus, the first large pullout by the U.S. Dozens of Americans waved from the top decks of the Orient Queen as the luxury ship's horn blew and it pulled out. On the docks below, U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman waved back.

9 a.m.: A Greek ship has left Beirut's port, evacuating up to 500 Europeans from Lebanon. The ship was carrying between 300-500 Greek, Scandinavian, French and some U.K. nationals, the firm owning the ship, ANEK Lines, said. India plans to evacuate about 1,000 of its citizens from Lebanon in the coming days, an official said. A day earlier, it bussed 49 people out of Beirut. Four Indian navy ships had reached Lebanese waters and would begin the evacuation in the next few days, said a foreign ministry spokesman, who added that Sri Lanka and Nepal had also requested Indian help in getting their citizens out.


7:25 a.m.: Israeli security was on high alert north of Tel Aviv for fear that a Palestinian suicide bomber was in the area, police said. An earlier report of a car bomb turned out to be false after an explosion in a barrel near a major highway near Tel Aviv frightened bystanders, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. Also, an Israeli soldier who had earlier been reported kidnapped was found safe, he said.

7:00 a.m.: French President Jacques Chirac urged Israel to allow for "humanitarian corridors" in Lebanon to keep people safe from airstrikes as they flee the country and called for a "humanitarian truce" in Middle East fighting. He also said France was sending a relief plane carrying supplies such as drinking water and medicine to the region.

6:10 a.m.: A car exploded east of Tel Aviv on a major highway but no injuries were immediately reported, medics said.

5:20 a.m.: Witnesses told Israel's Channel 10 that they saw an Israeli soldier forced into vehicle in a possible kidnapping. Channel 2 TV said that police had received a phone call from a soldier hitchhiking north of Tel Aviv who saw a vehicle he said looked suspicious. Police and the army said they were investigating.

4:40 a.m.: UNICEF and the World Health Organization said they were seriously concerned about civilian casualties and new health risks because of escalating violence in Lebanon and Israel. "Civilian deaths include dozens of children, with many more injured," the U.N. agencies said in a joint statement. Movement of medical supplies and ambulances to affected areas is seriously limited, the statement added.

2:45 a.m.: Three Palestinians were killed during an Israeli army operation in the West Bank city of Nablus in an exchange of fire in a Palestinian prison between militants and Israeli troops, Palestinian officials said.

2:25 a.m.: Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Israel doesn't want to involve Syria or Iran -- the prime sponsors of the Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia -- in its current conflict with Lebanon. "We will leave Iran to the world community, and Syria as well," Mr. Peres told Army Radio. "It's very important to understand that we are not instilling world order."

1:55 a.m.: At least 242 people had been killed in Lebanon and 25 in Israel since fighting broke out on July 12. A five-member household was wiped out by a missile that struck the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, police and hospital officials said. The target was the office of a firm belonging to Hezbollah. Airstrikes also destroyed 15 houses in the village of Srifa, near the southern city of Tyre.

1:30 a.m.: Israeli Brig. Gen. Alon Friedman, a senior commander on the northern front, told Army Radio that Israel's current policy is not to attack Syria so long as Damascus doesn't get directly involved in the fighting. "Right now we don't have any intention, any thoughts of acting against Syria, unless Syria carries out some sort of act," Gen. Friedman said. "As long as Syria remains outside of these activities, we will keep the same policy that we have implemented until now."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

11:30 p.m.: Some Israeli ground troops were sent into southern Lebanon searching for tunnels and weapons. Meanwhile, a cruise ship sailed into Beirut to begin shuttling thousands of Americans to safety from Mideast fighting, amid fierce criticism that the U.S. effort had lagged behind Europe's. Earlier, 320 Americans, mostly children, students and the elderly, left by military helicopter and a European ship. U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman told the Associated Press more than 1,000 Americans would depart Wednesday.


10:23 p.m.: The Journal's Neil King Jr. in Washington, Karby Leggett in Jerusalem and Jay Solomon in Beirut report. Emphasizing fundamental change over short-term stability, President Bush has no intention of launching intensive diplomacy to end Mideast fighting. Instead, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ventures to the region as early as this weekend, administration officials say her mission will be to build support for the effective crippling of Hezbollah, which has two ministers in the country's government and popular backing across southern Lebanon. They also hope the crisis will end up limiting the influence of Hezbollah's chief sponsors, Syria and Iran. More30.

9:30 p.m.: Americans being evacuated from Lebanon will not have to reimburse the U.S. government for their travel costs, the State Department said, representing a shift from an earlier announcement. "We want to do everything we can to facilitate the departure of American citizens from Lebanon," the department said in a written statement31.

7:15 p.m.: Big explosions reverberated over Beirut early Wednesday, and missiles hit towns to the east and south of the capital in new overnight strikes. The explosions appeared to be from hits in Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold. There was no immediate word on what was hit or casualties. In separate attacks, missiles also hit Chuweifat -- a coastal town where several factories are located, just south of the capital, near the airport -- and Hadath, a mainly Christian town just east of Beirut, local television said.

6:25 p.m.: The storm over evacuation charges continued. U.S. House Democratic Leader Pelosi said that Americans shouldn't have to pay to be evacuated from Lebanon. To get on board ships headed for Cyprus, Americans must sign a note pledging to reimburse the U.S. government. They will be charged the price of a flight from Beirut to Cyprus -- usually about $150 or $200, although officials refused to specify. The White House defended the charges. White House spokesman Tony Snow said the government had to charge evacuees because of a 2003 law. "I dare say that it's something that is causing heartburn for a number of people, but it's the law," he said. Beirut embassy note.32

5:45 p.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Siniora told the New York Times that the abducted Israeli soldiers could be released and the Lebanese army moved to the south of the country if Israel meets certain conditions. Siniora said the conditions include Israel's withdrawal from the disputed Shebaa Farms area of the border, the release of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails and a return to the terms of the 1949 armistice between the two countries, the Times reported. He suggested that the Lebanese army would move to southern Lebanon – an Israeli demand -- once these conditions were met. He backed the idea of a more robust international force, but only after "all the issues" were put on the table, and he stopped short of condemning Hezbollah, the newspaper said33.


4:20 p.m.: President Bush said he suspects Syria is trying to reassert influence in Lebanon. "It's in our interest for Syria to stay out of Lebanon and for this government to survive," Bush said in a reference to the young Lebanese government. Bush spoke after briefing members of Congress about his recent trip to Russia for the G-8 summit, which was overshadowed by warfare between Hezbollah and Israel. "The root cause of the problem is Hezbollah and that problem needs to addressed," Bush said. He said there are suspicions that the instability will cause some in Lebanon to invite Syria back into the nation. "Syria's trying to get back into Lebanon, it looks like, seems to me," Bush said. Transcript34.

2:45 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she will travel to the Middle East to help with peace efforts "when it is appropriate and necessary." A day earlier, a State Department spokesman said Rice would be traveling to the Middle East for talks, but didn't specify a timeframe or location for the trip.


1:40 p.m.: "We are uncomfortable with the situation as it is," White House spokesman Tony Snow said about the Mideast conflict. However, he added a "cease-fire that that would leave a terrorist infrastructure intact is unacceptable, so we are trying to work toward a cease-fire to institute peace and democracy in the region."

1:15 p.m.: CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns blames Hezbollah35 for the continuing violence and says Iran and Syria share responsibility for the region's unrest.


12:15 p.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said in a BBC interview that Israel is "opening the gates of hell and madness" on his country. He urged Hezbollah to release two captured Israeli soldiers but blamed Israeli policies for boosting Hezbollah support. Meanwhile, Italy is pressuring Syria to get a dialogue going in the hope of defusing the escalation of fighting involving Lebanon and Israel, the Italian foreign minister said

11:25 a.m.: The U.S. ambassador said 320 Americans would be evacuated from Lebanon to Cyprus by the end of Tuesday and that 1,000 more will leave the following day. U.S Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman said that by the end of the week the evacuation would be proceeding at a pace of 1,000 Americans a day.

11:20 a.m.: Israeli military officials said its aircraft were dropping leaflets on southern Lebanon, warning residents to flee the area ahead of an impending attack. Israel has routinely dropped leaflets over the past week warning civilians to evacuate the area.

11:15 a.m.:'s Scott Patterson reports from New York. The Dow industrials fell into negative territory for 2006 after an early move higher evaporated amid rising oil prices and fresh attacks in the Mideast. Light, sweet crude-oil prices rebounded Tuesday after a steep drop the day before. Crude-oil futures rose $1.15 to $76.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. More.36


10:15 a.m.: Hezbollah guerrillas pounded northern Israel with a new barrage of rocket fire, killing one Israeli in the northern town of Nahariya and wounding several others, Israeli officials said. At least seven other rockets also hit the northern city of Haifa.

9:15 a.m.: Morocco dispatched two C-130 cargo planes loaded with medicine and other humanitarian aid supplies to Lebanon. Morocco's King Mohamed VI also was giving Lebanon $5 million. The cargo planes, laden with more than 18 metric tons of medicines and 16 tons of powdered milk, headed to Damascus, Syria, whose airport has become Lebanon's main air link.

8:45 a.m.: reports that Microsoft is taking extra precautions in the Mideast. The tech site reports38 that the company has imposed security measures at its Israel offices, has told employees to cancel or postpone travel to Israel or Lebanon, and has cleared its offices in Beirut for now. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that engineering staff at Intel, Microsoft and IBM in Haifa, Israel, have taken special measures -- such as wi-fi in underground bunkers -- to keep working.

[Ehud Olmert]

8:35 a.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Olmert said Israel will press on with its week-long Lebanon offensive until the captured soldiers are released and Israeli citizens are safe from attacks. "Israel will continue to combat Hezbollah and will continue to strike targets of the group," Olmert said in a written statement.

8 a.m.: Current death toll from the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon and Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel: 220 people dead in Lebanon and 24 in Israel.

5:15 a.m.: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel would be ready to call a cease-fire with Hezbollah if its captured soldiers are returned, the Lebanese army deploys along the countries' shared border and the future disarmament of Hezbollah can be guaranteed. In recent days, Israeli officials have sent conflicting signals about whether Israel would demand Hezbollah's immediate disarmament as a condition for a halt in fighting.

5:05 a.m.: U.N Secretary-General Annan said any international stabilization force that is put together for Lebanon must be "considerably" larger and better armed than the U.N.'s current force of about 2,000 soldiers. Details of the proposed force's size and rules of engagement are yet to be worked out, he said.

4:10 a.m.: Israel may consider a prisoner swap with Lebanon to win the release of two soldiers captured by Hezbollah, but only after its military operation is complete, Avi Dichter, Israel's public security minister said, adding that efforts to gain the release of the soldier being held by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza and the two being held by Hezbollah weren't connected.

3:50 a.m.: Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Israel has refused a request for a short cease-fire or a safe corridor in Lebanon to allow the evacuation of foreign nationals. Up to 5,000 Australians and about 25,000 dual Australian-Lebanese citizens are believed to be in Lebanon.

3:30 a.m.: Israeli fighter-bombers killed five Lebanese soldiers and wounded 41 others in an overnight strike on a Lebanese army base in the area of Kfar Chima, security officials said. The Lebanese army has largely stayed out of the fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israel, but its positions have been repeatedly attacked by Israeli warplanes.

2:15 a.m.: The Israeli army's deputy chief of staff told Israel Radio that a ground invasion into Lebanon hadn't been ruled out. "At this stage we do not think we have to activate massive ground forces into Lebanon but if we have to do this, we will," Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinski said.

2:05 a.m.: Egypt and Israel reopened the Rafah border crossing for the first time in three weeks, allowing about 300 Palestinians to cross to the Gaza Strip in the first hour. Another 5,000 Palestinians were waiting on the Egyptian side to go back to Gaza. The crossing was expected to be open only one day.

1:30 a.m.: Israel launched waves of bombings that hit south Beirut, the border and the eastern city of Baalbek. At least five people were killed when a bomb hit a house in a village near the border with Israel, witnesses said, and four people were wounded in Baalbek.

12:55 a.m.: Nearly nine out of 10 Israelis say the army's week-old operation against Hezbollah is justified and nearly 60% say Israel should fight until the Lebanese guerrilla group is destroyed, according to an opinion poll published in the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot.


12:24 a.m.: Oil prices inched higher Tuesday in Asia after a steep fall the prior day that came on hopes that Mideast fighting would end soon. In Singapore, light, sweet crude for August delivery rose six cents to $75.36 a barrel in morning electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Monday in the U.S., the contract slid $1.73 to settle at $75.30 a barrel, retreating from record highs set in trading last week. The contract reached an intraday record of $78.40 a barrel on Friday before settling at an all-time closing high of $77.03.

Monday, July 17, 2006

11:05 p.m.: The Journal's Yasmine El-Rashidi and Mariam Fam report. The Middle East has seen a tremendous increase in tourism in the past several years, with a resurgent Beirut one of the industry's biggest destinations, especially in August. Now, nearby Damascus, the capital of neighboring Syria, is rapidly filling with tourists exiting Lebanon in a hurry this week. Thousands of summer tourists scheduled to arrive in Beirut in the coming weeks now have other plans. Many of those traveling from the countries of the Persian Gulf will end up in Egypt. That's welcome news for Egypt's tourism industry, which itself has been battered by violence in recent years. More.39

6:10 p.m.: An Israeli air strike hit a Lebanese military base located northeast of Beirut, Cable News Network reported, citing Lebanese sources. There were some casualties as a result of the operation, Lebanese sources said, CNN reported.

5:30 p.m.: Hezbollah is dismissing international proposals for a cease fire with Israel, saying they're nothing more than a ploy for the Islamic militant group to comply with Israeli conditions. "The international envoys have conveyed Israeli conditions. These conditions are rejected," said Hezbollah legislator Hussein Haj Hassan. His comments followed a meeting of U.N. and EU representatives, the French Prime Minister Villepin and Lebanon's government on ways to end the six-day conflict with Israel.


5:15 p.m.: The Journal's Karby Leggett, Mariam Fam and Bill Spindle report. Syria holds the key for a new regional dynamic in the Middle East. How Damascus responds to increasing pressure from Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah could determine whether Syria breaks free from international isolationism and rebuilds ties with the U.S. or steers closer to Iran and radical Islam. Early signs are that Syria is leaning toward Iran. More.40

5 p.m.: The Israeli military decided late today to call up several thousand reserve forces because of the fighting in Lebanon. Israel first called up reserve soldiers last week.

4:30 p.m.: The Journal's Scott Patterson reports from New York. A sharp drop by oil prices eased worries on Wall Street that the turmoil in the Middle East may trigger a destabilizing energy shock. While Monday's rebound was tepid, investors breathed a sigh of relief. Light, sweet crude fell $1.73 to $75.30 a barrel on the Nymex, after closing at a nominal record $77.03 Friday. "People are concluding that the clash between Israel and Hezbollah is probably not threatening to oil," said Ned Riley of Riley Asset Management. More.41

4:20 p.m.: The Journal's Yochi J. Dreazen reports from St. Petersburg, Russia. The U.S. and Russia have sharply different ideas about what has caused the Middle East violence and what should be done to stop it, complicating efforts to find a diplomatic solution and further straining the relationship between the two countries. The two sides traded jabs over whether responsibility for the violence lay with Israel or Syrian-backed Hezbollah. Russia made clear that its ideas for ending the violence -- negotiating with Hezbollah, pressing Israel to halt its offensive and resisting efforts to lay blame on Syria and Iran -- ran counter to those of the U.S. President Bush used an expletive, caught on an open microphone, to illustrate his belief that Syria bore responsibility for the violence. Full article42 and video43 of Bush remarks.


3:55 p.m.: Israeli security officials say a rocket fired from Lebanon hit near a hospital in Safed.

3:55 p.m.: CNBC-Dow Jones video posted. WSJ's Gerald Seib and CNBC Middle East military analyst Lt. Colonel Rick Francona discuss diplomatic solutions45 for the Middle East. Plus, AP Video46 on Israel's softened demands for a cease-fire.

3:50 p.m.: A new barrage of rockets fired by guerrillas in southern Lebanon hit northern Israel late Monday, Israeli security officials said. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The rockets hit the city of Haifa, where a three-story apartment building was destroyed by a rocket earlier in the day, and the border town of Kiryat Shemona, officials said.

De Villepin

1:40 p.m.: French Prime Minister de Villepin, in Lebanon, said his country proposes a monitoring mission to help the Lebanese government spread its authority throughout its territory, including the Hezbollah-dominated south. He also said an end to the bloodshed in Lebanon must include the release of two captured Israeli soldiers and a halt to Hezbollah and Israeli attacks. But he added in a news conference with Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, "the priority is for a cease-fire and finding the mechanism that is acceptable to all parties."


1:00 p.m.: An Israeli airstrike in Lebanon destroyed at least one long-range Iranian missile capable of hitting Tel Aviv, military officials said. Israeli aircraft targeted a truck carrying the weapons before they could be launched, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of military regulations. Officials said it was an Iranian-made "Zilzal," which has a range of about 80 miles. They said Lebanese TV stations broadcast video pictures of the incident, erroneously describing the destroyed missile as an Israeli military aircraft falling to the ground.

12:50 p.m.: Israeli police released Al-Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau chief after several hours of questioning, the Arabic broadcaster reported. Israeli police weren't immediately able to confirm the report.


12:45 p.m.: Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper says48 the government is already planning a fund to issue aid to people who suffered property damage, even as air attacks continue. Saudi Arabia has pledged $50 million and Kuwait another $20 million, and the fund is open to donations from Lebanese and other Arabs. Finance Minister Jihad Azour said the country doesn't have a handle on the total amount of damage. Meanwhile, Lebanese central bank Governor Riad Salameh has insisted49 it has "abundant foreign currency reserves" and doesn't see a need for strong intervention in local money markets. Last Friday, an unnamed banker was cited as saying the central bank had injected $70 million into markets to keep the pound stable.


12:15 p.m.: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the fighting in Lebanon would end when the two soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas are freed, rocket attacks on Israel have stopped, and the Lebanese army is deployed along the border. Delivering a speech to parliament after six-days of fighting with guerrillas in Lebanon, Olmert said Israel would have no mercy on militants who attack its cities with rockets. "We are not looking for war or direct conflict, but if necessary, we will not be frightened by it," he said.

[Go to map.]50

12:10 p.m.: Interactive map51 of Monday's attacks is updated.

11:50 a.m.: A commercial ship escorted by a U.S. destroyer will start evacuating some Americans from Lebanon Tuesday and more military helicopters will be used to fly others direct to Cyprus, a U.S. official said. Israel appeared to be allowing evacuation ships through its blockade of the country.

11:15 a.m.: French Premier Dominique de Villepin arrived in Beirut on a mission to express solidarity with a country under siege and bombardment by Israel. Villepin is the highest-level foreign official to visit the country since the crisis began last week. France said his visit was aimed only at showing support, but it comes as the U.N. and European Union are launching diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.


11 a.m.: Israel would agree to a cease-fire if Hezbollah withdraws from the border area with Israel and releases two captured Israeli soldiers, a senior official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Israel had previously demanded the full dismantling of Hezbollah as a condition for ending hostilities. Meanwhile, John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said that if Iran wants to contribute to bringing an end to fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, it should order the release of kidnapped Israeli soldiers. He said Hamas and Hezbollah were agents of Iran, and Iran should have them release the prisoners, which would put an end to the current fighting "in a matter of nanoseconds."

10:55 a.m.: Arabic TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera demanded that Israeli authorities release its Jerusalem bureau chief, who it said was arrested on Sunday. The broadcaster, based in Doha, Qatar, said in a prepared release that Israeli authorities began obstructing its news operations in northern Israel and arrested its correspondent, Ilyas Karram, just after the first wave of Hezbollah rockets hit Haifa.


10:30 a.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora called Israel "killers" on the Fox News Channel and reiterated his desire for a cease-fire. The leader said that the attacks are destabilizing his nation's democracy and will lead to further extremism in the region.

10 a.m.:'s Scott Patterson reports from New York. While investors remain preoccupied with the escalating conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, stocks bounced back from three straight days of triple-digit declines amid bargain hunting. More.52

9:20 a.m.: At blog-search site Technorati, Israel has overtaken France's Zidane as the most-blogged subject. Lebanon comes in third, while Beirut, Haifa and Hezbollah also made the top 15. YouTube has video posts from Haifa53 and Beirut54.

8:25 a.m.: The EU's foreign and security chief, Javier Solana, returned from the Middle East saying he is pessimistic about cease-fire chances. He said the best that could be hoped for was a "de-escalation." Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, said a cease-fire and an exchange of prisoners was feasible, in remarks after talks with Syrian officials. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait pledged a total of $90 million in immediate aid to Lebanon to help it deal with the humanitarian consequences of Israel's airstrikes.

8:10 a.m.: No Israeli aircraft was shot down over Beirut, contrary to Lebanese media reports, the Israeli army said. The video showed a burning object spiraling down to the ground in the Jamhour district near the Hezbollah stronghold of southern Beirut, which has been under Israeli air attack for several days. Israel's Channel 10 TV reported that the object apparently was a container of leaflets that fell from an Israeli military plane.

8:05 a.m.: Three rounds of rockets fired by Hezbollah guerrillas struck Haifa, with one destroying a three-story building and wounding at least two people, Israeli medics said. The medics said other victims may be trapped in the rubble of the building in Israel's third-largest city. The attacks came one day after Hezbollah attack on the port city killed eight people.

7:25 a.m.: Israeli ground troops have entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, an Israeli government spokesman said. A military official said that a small group of Israeli troops had crossed into Lebanon overnight to attack a Hezbollah position, but then returned to Israel. Television reports an Israeli plane has gone down in east Beirut.


7:15 a.m.: Oil futures were lower after rallying in recent days. An Israeli television reported that an Israeli official said it will end its military operation in "days." Crude was down nearly $1 a barrel.

6:40 a.m.: More Hezbollah rockets fell on Haifa, the second day the coastal city has been targeted, but Israeli officials said they hit away from buildings and caused only minor damage. Rockets also fell on Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, Safed and Acre. No injuries were reported.

6:25 a.m.: Iran's foreign minister arrived in Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on the crisis in Lebanon but he didn't speak to reporters. Iran and Syria are the principal sponsors of Hezbollah, and have applauded Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers.

4:50 a.m.: Britain began evacuating its more vulnerable citizens from Lebanon, with 40 airlifted out at the weekend and another group taken out by helicopter, the British ambassador to Lebanon said. The U.K. said earlier it is sending two warships to join other Royal Navy vessels already off the coast of Lebanon in preparation for a mass evacuation.

4:45 a.m.: Israeli police arrested a Palestinian carrying a bomb he said he planned to use in an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem. The Palestinian was arrested in Jerusalem's center, near the walled Old City.

4:35 a.m.: Italian Premier Romano Prodi asked Iran to press Lebanon for the release of abducted Israeli soldiers in a phone call Sunday with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, the premier's aides said.


4:15 a.m.: Israel said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is opposed to the deployment of international forces in Lebanon in an effort to end bloodshed in the region. The announcement followed calls by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for such a deployment.

3:50 a.m.: The European Union said it was weighing the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Lebanon to help end fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerillas.

3:30 a.m.: France is sending Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to Beirut on Monday to express support for Lebanon, President Jacques Chirac's office said. The prime minister was to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to express support and solidarity from the French to the Lebanese.

2:25 a.m.: An Israeli soldier was killed, and six others wounded, when Palestinian militants detonated explosives against troops operating in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Israeli army said.


2:20 a.m.: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel and to give it incentive to stop attacks on Hezbollah.

2:05 a.m.: Israeli airstrikes pounded parts of the Lebanese capital, killing two people in Beirut's port, hitting a gas tank in a northern neighborhood and shelling the southern suburbs, witnesses and Lebanese media said.

1:30 a.m.: Officials across the Asia-Pacific region were working to find an evacuation route for their citizens trapped in Lebanon by Israeli airstrikes. Australia was in talks with Israel to determine the safest option out of Lebanon, while Thailand, New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines were also working to help their citizens flee the troubled Middle Eastern nation.

Week 1: Syria Could Play Key Role
July 16, 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

11:20 p.m.: Two loud explosions rocked south Beirut shortly after sunrise on Monday, CNN reported. Lebanese TVs showed columns of smoke rising from the Hezbollah stronghold, which was pummeled on Sunday after a Hezbollah barrage hit the Israeli city of Haifa.

9:45 p.m.: The Journal's Karby Leggett reports. Israel enjoys vast military superiority over its Hezbollah foe in Lebanon. Yet that superiority is ill-suited for the one thing the Israelis most seek to do right now: Stop Hezbollah's rockets. And in that shortcoming lies a danger of a widening war. More.1

9:40 p.m.: The Journal's E.S. Browning reports. Almost never has Middle East fighting done long-term damage to the U.S. stock market. Short-term stock pullbacks typically have been opportunities to buy at a reduced price. Only when economic fundamentals have been seriously damaged, usually in the form of a disruption in oil supplies, has Middle East fighting led to serious market trouble. More.2

[Go to map.]3

7:30 p.m.: Interactive map4 of the weekend's attacks is updated.

6:30 p.m.: Israeli warplanes bombed the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building in Gaza City, the second attack on the ministry in a week, witnesses said. At least five people were injured, rescue workers said. The Israeli military refused to comment. The huge blast collapsed an eight-story wing of the building and damaged houses in a wide area around the ministry. The wounded were in nearby houses. The ministry was thought to be empty at the time of the strike at 1:20 a.m. local time.

6:25 p.m.: Israel unleashed another series of airstrikes throughout Lebanon in the early hours of Monday, hitting on the Mediterranean coast near Beirut and in the northern port of Tripoli, as well as in the eastern town of Baalbek, police and witnesses said. At least four people were killed in the night raids, police said.

4:50 p.m.: Israeli military says rockets fired from Lebanon hit Upper Nazareth and Afula. The two towns are about 25 miles south of the Lebanese border, about the same distance as Haifa, which was hit earlier Sunday with a rocket that killed eight people. Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town next to historical Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. The population of Nazareth is made up of Muslim and Christian Arabs who are Israeli citizens.


4:45 p.m.: President Bush believes that suspicions of Iran's involvement in the escalating Middle East violence are legitimate, Newsweek reports5, citing an exclusive interview. "There's a lot of people who believe that the Iranians are trying to exert more and more influence over the entire region and the use of Hezbollah is to create more and more chaos to advance their strategy," Bush said, according to Newsweek's cover story. Bush called that "a theory that's got some legs to it as far as I'm concerned," Newsweek reports.

4:15 p.m.: Two Marine Corps helicopters evacuated 21 Americans from Lebanon to Cyprus, and U.S. officials urged others to wait for a formal evacuation plan before they try to leave. The U.S. citizens evacuated Sunday included a family of four with a sick child and four students, said Maura Harty, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. See related Washington Wire item6 on the evacuation planning.

3:30 p.m.: Lebanese security officials say Israel has attacked Beirut's airport again, setting a fuel tank ablaze.

3:15 p.m.: MSNBC shows images of new explosions at Beirut's airport.

3 p.m.: Senior U.N. envoy Vijay Nambiar called for the release of captured Israeli soldiers, the protection of civilians and infrastructure and expressed support for Lebanon's appeal for a cease-fire. "Enough innocent lives have been lost and property and infrastructure has been damaged," he told reporters after holding talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Saniora. More than 150 Lebanese civilians have died in the violence so far.


1:50 p.m.: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora criticized Israel's retaliation against Hezbollah by phone Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition," saying Israel was trying to effectively evacuate the southern half of his country. "The gates of hell have been opened on Lebanon. And there is a series of mad behavior and mass killing that is happening in Lebanon. For the past five days, Israel is subjecting the whole country to its continuous firing and killing," Siniora said. Israel is "behaving in an unhumanitarian way," he said, saying that if a cease-fire isn't achieved a "great number" of Lebanese will die.

1:40 p.m.: Lebanese security officials say an Israeli airstrike on the southern port city of Tyre has killed nine civilians and wounded 42. Earlier, five Lebanese-Canadians from a single family were killed Sunday in an Israeli air raid that hit a Lebanese town on the border with Israel, Lebanese security officials said.

1:15 p.m.: In a statement, Group of Eight leaders called for the Israeli soldiers abducted in Gaza and Lebanon to be released unharmed; the shelling of Israeli territory to end; Israeli military operations to cease and Israeli forces to withdraw early from Gaza; and for arrested Palestinian ministers and legislators to be released. The leaders expressed their "deepening concern about the situation in the Middle East, in particular the rising civilian casualties on all sides and the damage to infrastructure," the statement read. Full text of statement.7

1:05 p.m.: The Journal's Karby Leggett reports from Jerusalem. Israel's confrontation with Hezbollah is ratcheting closer to a full-blown regional war as Hezbollah continued to launch rockets into Israeli cities with deadly results and Israel prepared to launch a major offensive to try to eliminate the rocket threat. The two sides are locked in a battle that appears likely to escalate and widen, perhaps pulling in Hezbollah's state backers x and even Iran. More.8

12:45 p.m.: Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition" that Hezbollah's offensive "won't break our spirit," noting that Israel has taken measures to limit civilian casualties and is ready to talk peace with Lebanon.


12:15 p.m.: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that the leaders of the Group of Eight had agreed on a joint statement that sends a "strong message" on the fighting in the Middle East. "It is a strong message with a clear political content," Merkel told reporters. She said the statement calls for the abducted Israeli soldiers to be freed, for the attacks on Israel to stop and for Israel to end its military action.

This news tracker launched around noon Sunday. Previous entries are here for context and background.

Earlier: Israel renewed its bombardment of southern Beirut Sunday, unleashing at least six airstrikes on the Hezbollah stronghold, after a rocket attack on the northern Israeli town of Haifa killed eight people. Haifa was hit with at least 20 rockets fired by Lebanese guerillas, in retaliation for a wave of bombings by Israeli airplanes early Sunday morning when about 18 powerful explosions rocked southern Beirut.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Israeli air force hits Hezbollah strongholds, bombing central Beirut for the first time and pounding seaports and a key bridge. Lebanese guerrillas launch a barrage of rockets throughout the day, hitting more than a dozen communities across northern Israel. An unmanned Hezbollah aircraft rigged with explosives rams an Israeli warship, setting it ablaze. The death toll rises above 100 in Lebanon, and stood at 15 in Israel.

Friday, July 14

Israel continues to bomb buildings, highways and other infrastructure and tighten a naval blockade of Lebanon. Israel bombs Beirut's main airport for a second time, hitting fuel containers. It also carries out airstrikes against bridges on the main road connecting the Lebanese capital to Syria. Meanwhile, Hezbollah fires some 50 rockets into northern Israeli towns. Residents of Haifa are ordered back into bomb shelters. The death toll rises to 73 people in Lebanon and 10 in Israel.

Thursday, July 13

Israeli warplanes continue to strike roads, bridges and other targets in Lebanon, including two military bases. Three runway bombings force Beirut's airport to close. Israel's navy imposes a blockade along Lebanon's coast, shutting down the main channel for imports and exports. Hezbollah fires more than 90 rockets into northern Israel. Israel claims one of the rockets hit Haifa, some 30 miles south of Lebanon's border. Two days of bombings had killed 47 Lebanese and one Israeli.

Wednesday, July 12

Hezbollah fighters launch a raid into Israel and capture two Israeli soldiers, triggering an Israeli assault with warplanes, gunboats and ground troops in southern Lebanon to hunt for the captives. Mr. Olmert calls the Hezbollah raid "an act of war" and holds the Lebanese government responsible, vowing that the Israeli response "will be restrained, but very, very, very painful."

This site will not rest till Lebanon see's Horriyeh, Siyadeh, Istiqlal (Freedom, Sovereignty, Independence)