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Week of 7.21.06

Timeline: Israel-Lebanon Crisis

Tuesday, August 1

Israeli warplanes strike Shiite villages in southern Lebanon and hit Hezbollah strongholds deep inside the country.

Several thousand Israeli soldiers are engaged in ground operations, fighting house-to-house battles with hundreds of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanese towns and villages close to the border.

An Israeli Cabinet decision paves the way for a significantly broader ground offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says it is not in Israel's interest to agree to an immediate ceasefire because each day of fighting is weakening Hezbollah.

Two U.N. aid convoys destined for southern Lebanon are halted after failing to receive security clearance from Israeli military forces and Hezbollah.

Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati calls on Muslim countries to send weapons to Hezbollah.

Sunday, July 30

Some 55 people, including many women and children, are killed in the Lebanese village of Qana following an Israeli air attack.

Israel agrees to stop air strikes on southern Lebanon for 48 hours to allow for an investigation into the civilian deaths in Qana.

At an emergency session of the Security Council, the head of the U.N., Kofi Annan, sharply criticizes world leaders, implicitly the U.S., for ignoring his previous calls to stop the violence.

The Lebanese Prime Minister, Fuad Siniora, cancels talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice meets with Israeli officials in Jerusalem to work on conditions for a ceasefire before returning to Washington. The Israeli leader, Ehud Olmert, tells Rice that Israel needs 10 to 14 more days to continue its offensive against Hezbollah.

Some 5,000 demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon protest the deaths in Qana. They chant anti-Israeli sentiment, burn the U.S. flag and proclaim their support for Hezbollah.

Saturday, July 29

The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, returns to the Middle East to give Lebanese and Israeli leaders a new package of proposals, which are said to include the deployment of an international force in southern Lebanon, aimed at ending the violence.

The Israeli military says its forces have withdrawn from the Lebanese stronghold of Bint Jbail, adding its mission was complete.

Israel rejects a U.N. request for a three-day ceasefire to get supplies into Lebanon and civilians out.

An Israeli strike wounds two U.N. monitors in their observation post, the UN says.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says in a televised message that more central Israeli cities would be targeted if the Israeli offensive continues.

Friday, July 28

After talks in Washington, President George W. Bush and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, have said an international force must be quickly dispatched to Lebanon and called for a U.N. resolution next week.

Bush also said that he was sending U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, back to the region on Saturday.

Israeli warplane and artillery attacks hit Hezbollah positions and crushed houses and roads in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah said it fired a rocket that landed deeper inside Israel than previous strikes.

The U.S. has evacuated about 500 more U.S. citizens from Beirut, according to the AP. Some 15,000 U.S. citizens have left Lebanon.

The U.N. announces plans to relocate unarmed observers from their post along the Israeli border to positions manned by the U.N. peacekeeping force, Unifil.

The world body calls for a 72-hour truce in the conflict zone to allow humanitarian aid in and to evacuate casualties.

Thursday, July 27

Israel says that the failure of world leaders to call for an immediate ceasefire at the Rome summit indicates their backing to continue its offensive.

Germany, in line with other European Union countries, says the declaration in no way indicates Israel should continue its attacks on Lebanon.

The Israeli army calls up at least 30,000 reservists in case fighting with Hezbollah intensifies.

Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahri issues the groups first response to the crisis, threatening retaliation for the attacks in Lebanon and Gaza.

Israel launches further air and artillery attacks on suspected Hezbollah targets while Hezbollah continues to fire rockets into Israel.

The U.N. Security Council expresses "shock and distress" at the deaths of four of its observers in an Israeli bombing raid, but does not formally condemn the strike.

As of Wednesday, 51 Israelis have been killed, according to the Israeli military, while Lebanon reports that 600 people have been killed since the conflict began.

Wednesday, July 26

The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, met with European and Arab officials in Rome, Italy for crisis talks but failed to reach an agreement. Rice came under intense pressure to call for a cease-fire.

A joint statement from the conference backs the idea of an international force with a U.N. mandate to patrol southern Lebanon.

In the deadliest day for the Israeli offensive, nine Israeli soldiers were killed in intense fighting with Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah continues to fire rockets into northern Israel.

U.N aid convoy arrives in the south Lebanese town of Tyre, while more civilians flee north.

Tuesday, July 25

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, ahead of meeting in Rome with European and Arab officials on resolving the current Middle East conflict.

Diplomats in Rome are expected to push the U.S. to urge a cease fire.

An Israeli air strike hits a U.N. observation post in south Lebanon, killing four U.N. personnel.

U.N. observers say Israel has taken the town of Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Lebanon. Air strikes in southern Lebanon continue.

Hezbollah fires scores of rockets into Northern Israel and vows to launch missiles deeper into the country.

Monday, July 24

The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, holds talks with Lebanon's Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora, in Beirut before traveling to Israel.

Israeli ground forces push deeper into Lebanon in heavy fighting and capture two Hezbollah guerrillas. There is fierce fighting in southern Lebanon around Bint Jbeil.

An Israeli helicopter crashes in northern Israel killing both pilots.

Some 11,700 Americans have fled Lebanon, the State Department says.

President Bush orders a fleet of U.S. helicopters and ships to carry humanitarian supplies into Lebanon.

The U.N. humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, appeals for $150 million in humanitarian aid for the next three months for food, health care, water, and sanitation. He says 500,000 to 800,000 people have been affected by the fighting.

Sunday, July 23

Hezbollah continues to fire rockets into the Israeli city, Haifa, killing two people and setting an apartment building ablaze.

Israeli missiles strike southern Beirut, the Bekaa valley, Tyre, and Sidon, a southern port city full of tens of thousands of refugees from the surrounding countryside.

The UN's emergency relief co-ordinator, Jan Egeland, tours southern districts of Beirut and says the degree of the destruction, and its indiscriminate nature, renders it a violation of humanitarian law.

Israel's defense minister, Amir Peretz, says Israel would accept an international force, preferably NATO, on its border after it drives back or weakens Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Saturday, July 22

The Israeli army continues ground incursions into southern Lebanon, and forces seize the village of Maroun al-Ras from Hezbollah. Israel says it is not planning a full-scale ground invasion.

An Israeli radio station that broadcasts to southern Lebanon warns residents of 13 villages to leave by Saturday afternoon.

Hezbollah fires dozens of rockets into Israel while Israel targets Lebanese phone and television masts in air strikes.

Thousands of Lebanese try to flee southern Lebanon, and the U.N. pushes for secure routes for civilians to escape and aid to be delivered.

Friday, July 21

Thousands of Israeli troops mass at the Lebanon border. Israeli General Shuki Shachar says the army is evaluating their next move on a minute-by-minute basis.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud announces his own army is "ready to defend" their country if Israel launches a major ground invasion.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announces she will travel to Israel next week and attend a diplomatic meeting about the crisis, but ruled out a quick cease-fire as a "false promise." She also reiterated she will not talk with officials from Hezbollah or Syria.

Thursday, July 20

Israel continues to bomb southern Lebanon by air while Hezbollah guerrillas persist in their rocket attacks into Israel. The Israeli military estimates that its air attacks on Lebanon have destroyed about half of Hezbollah's military strength.

As the mass evacuation of foreign nationals continues, 40 United States marines come ashore in Lebanon to help American citizens. An estimated 13,000 foreigners have been evacuated from Lebanon.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan urges Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon to stop hostilities.

Russia sharply criticizes Israel over its attacks against Lebanon. The Russian Foreign Ministry says Israelis actions have gone "far beyond the boundaries of an anti-terrorist operation."

Wednesday, July 19

Israeli strikes hit Hezbollah positions in Beirut, as well as targets in southern and eastern parts of the country.

Israel broadcasts warnings into southern Lebanon urging civilians to leave the region.

The Israeli military says its aircraft dropped 23 tons of explosives on a bunker in south Beirut. It claims to have possibly hit senior Hezbollah leaders but the militant group denies that any of its "leaders or personnel" are killed.

Rockets fired from Lebanon strike the northern Israeli city of Haifa, and kill two children in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth.

A woman and her child are guided to an air terminal in Cyprus following their flight from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on July 17, 2006. Photo: Michael B.W. Watkins, U.S. Navy
A woman and her child are guided to a terminal in Cyprus following their flight from Beirut on July 17, 2006. Photo: Michael B.W. Watkins, U.S. Navy
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora appeals for an immediate end to the Israeli attacks on his country. He says more than 300 people had been killed by the Israeli air raids so far, with 1,000 wounded and 500,000 displaced.

Thousands of people continue to flee Lebanon. Citizens from Britain, Norway, Sweden and the U.S., among others, are taken to Cyprus by ferry.

House members voice their support of Israel, beginning a debate on a resolution that would condone Israel's military campaign in Lebanon. The Senate passes a similar resolution on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 18

Israel bombs Lebanon for a seventh consecutive day. The number of Lebanese killed since the start of the crisis reaches about 230, with 25 Israelis also killed.

The UN warns of a humanitarian disaster as Lebanese flee their homes. Air strikes on roads and bridges continue.

The Bush administration says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to the Middle East to help solve the crisis.

The State Department drops plans to ask Americans to pay for their evacuation.

Thousands of Europeans are evacuated from Lebanon by ship and air.

Monday, July 17

Israel extends airstrikes across Lebanon, killing dozens.

Hezbollah continues to fire rockets at Israel. A building is hit in Haifa and a rocket lands near a hospital in Safed, reportedly injuring six people.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, says the attacks will continue until two Israeli soldiers are freed, Hezbollah is disarmed, and the Lebanese army is mobilized and in control of the south.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, recommend sending an international force to Lebanon to stop Hezbollah attacks.

The international community steps up its evacuation of foreigners from Lebanon. Thousands of Lebanese flee their homes.

U.S. begins first major evacuation of Americans by sea and air.

Sunday, July 16

Hundreds of evacuees arrive in Cyprus as Western countries evacuate their citizens from the Middle East.

Hezbollah rockets kill eight Israelis in Haifa in the worst attack on Israel since the fighting began.

At least 17 people are killed following Israeli air-raids in southern Lebanon, including a vacationing Canadian family of Lebanese origin.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, warns the Haifa attack will have "far-reaching consequences." Israel blames Syria and Iran for providing the weaponry that hit Haifa.

Iran warns Israel that any attack on Syria would cause "unimaginable losses."

Leaders of the G8 countries meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, urge both sides to stop the violence.

Saturday, July 15

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora calls on the U.N. to broker an immediate cease-fire to end Israel's offensive against Lebanon.

Israel expands it strikes on Lebanon striking Hezbollah strongholds and bombing central Beirut for the first time.

Israel accuses Iran of helping fire a missile that damaged an Israeli warship, a charge Iran denies.

Hezbollah fires rockets on the town of Tiberias. Residents are ordered into bomb shelters.

U.S. President George W. Bush, on a trip to Russia, said it was up to Hezbollah "to lay down its arms and to stop attacking" while Russian President Vladimir Putin urged a balanced approach by Israel.

The death toll in the conflict rises to above 100 in Lebanon, including many civilians, and stands at 15 in Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Friday, July 14

Bridges, roads and fuel depots are hit by Israeli rockets along with fresh attacks on Beirut airport.

In an emergency meeting, the U.N. Security Council calls for an end to the Israeli operation, saying it is causing the death of innocent civilians.

After his offices in Beirut are bombed, the Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, calls for "open war" against Israel.

Thursday, July 13

Israeli jets strike southern Lebanon as well as the runway at Beirut's main airport, forcing its closure.

Dozens of Lebanese are reported dead in Lebanese towns and villages close to Israeli targets.

Israel announces an air and sea blockade of Lebanon.

Map of Lebanese-Israeli conflict as of 14 July 2006
Map of Lebanese-Israeli conflict as of 14 July 2006
President George W. Bush defends Israel's right to defend itself from attack while France, Russia and the European Union are critical of a "disproportionate" use of force.

A rocket hits Haifa, Israel's third largest city, but Hezbollah denies responsibility.

Wednesday, July 12

In a cross boarder raid, Hezbollah takes two Israeli soldiers hostage before retreating back to Lebanon.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, calls the incident "an act of war."

Israeli planes bomb Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

Israeli troops cross into southern Lebanon for the first time since the military withdrawal in 2000. Eight people are killed during fighting with Hezbollah.

(Compiled from newswires)