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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rescue workers dig up 49 bodies in south Lebanon

Tyre (Lebanon), Aug 1: Rescuers recovered 49 bodies today at the start of the gruesome task of digging up scores of bodies from the rubble of south Lebanon during a 48-hour suspension of Israeli air attacks.

Lebanese medical sources said the bodies were dug up and found in streets and burnt cars in at least 10 villages east of the port city of Tyre. They said rescue workers were looking for dozens more bodies believed to be buried under the rubble in a cluster of border villages and towns bombarded by Israeli aircraft over the past three weeks.

Israel's three-week offensive in Lebanon has killed around 600 people, mostly civilians. Lebanese Health Minister Mohammad Khalifeh put the number of unrecovered bodies at 200, which would take the death toll to 750 in Lebanon. Fifty-one Israelis have also been killed.

Civil defence workers were using a bulldozer to clear rubble from where around 30 civilians were believed buried under houses destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the village of Sreefa two weeks ago. They had recovered 12 bodies.

Israel today began a 48-hour suspension of air strikes on south Lebanon after an air strike on the village of Qana killed at least 54 civilians.

But the army said it reserved the right to strike at Hizbollah rocket launchers, target the Shi'ite Muslim group's leaders or give air support to its ground operations. The war erupted when Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack on July 12.


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