Lebanon crisis continues

MORE than half of the 7,000 Australians who registered with the Australian embassy in Lebanon have been evacuated from the war-torn country. Prime Minister John Howard urged any Australians still in the region to leave immediately, saying their evacuation options could close shortly. Israel has agreed to open up a humanitarian corridor between Lebanon and Cyprus to provide safe passage for more evacuees. At the same time, Israel has stepped up its bombing campaign of southern Lebanon this week, pushing its ground offensive more than four kilometres inside its neighbour’s border. United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan condemned any excessive use of force and demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah. US President George Bush has opposed an immediate ceasefire until Hizbollah’s hold over southern Lebanon is resolved.

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