U.S. says Israel has agreed to suspend air strikes for 48 hours after deadly strike on Qana

Monday, July 31, 2006

After one of its raids killed at least 56 civilians, Israel agreed on Monday to suspend its aerial activities in south Lebanon for 48 hours. The announcement came after extended meetings between Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister.

Adam Ereli, a US state department spokesman in Jerusalem, said "Israel has agreed to a 48-hour suspension of aerial activity in south Lebanon to investigate today's tragic incident in Qana,"

The aerial ceasefire began after midnight on Sunday but fighting on the ground continues as Israeli forces aim to create a 'security zone' inside Lebanon along the Israeli border. Lebanon has no air force nor air defences.

Gadi Eisenkaut, army operations chief General, said "By Wednesday we are going to establish a two-kilometer (one-mile) wide 'security zone' in which there will be no infrastructure or sign of Hezbollah's presence"