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UN Security Council Debates Mideast Crisis


The United Nations Security Council is holding an urgent meeting at the request of Lebanon Friday on the escalating crisis in the Middle East.

Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Dan Gillerman, defended his country's offensive, saying Israel has been the target of repeated Hezbollah attacks.

Lebanon has called for a comprehensive cease-fire.

President Bush spoke by telephone earlier Friday with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

In a statement, Lebanon said the United States has promised that it will urge Israel to avoid civilian casualties and damage. White House spokesman Tony Snow, however, denied Mr. Bush promised to press Israel to halt its offensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on all sides in the conflict to immediately end military action.

French President Jacques Chirac asked if there was a "will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads and its communication."

But Saudi Arabia lashed out against what it called "rash adventures" by elements inside Lebanon without legitimate authority or coordination with Arab countries. Saudi Arabia said those under Israeli occupation have a right to resist, but added that the Lebanese elements have created a gravely dangerous situation for the Arab world.

Indonesia condemned the Israeli attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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