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Bush: Israel Has Right to Defend Itself


President Bush says Israel has every right to defend itself against Hezbollah in Lebanon, but he is urging Israel to use restraint.

Speaking at the G-8 summit in Russia Sunday, Mr. Bush said the "root cause" of the fighting is Hezbollah and its relationship with Syria and Iran.

In Tehran, a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, denied Israeli claims that Iran had sent soldiers or missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran's government also warned that Israel would suffer "unimaginable losses" if Syria is attacked. Syria also has threatened to respond if attacked by Israel.

At the G-8 summit, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said extremists backed by Iran and Syria want to disrupt Lebanese democracy by creating tension and hostility.

French President Jacques Chirac said all parties threatening Lebanon's security, stability and sovereignty "must be stopped."

Pope Benedict condemned what he described as the terrorist attacks and retaliation in the Holy Land. He expressed regret over civilian deaths and appealed to all sides to pursue dialogue.

The Arab League declared the Middle East peace process "dead" after holding an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the Israeli actions in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa urged the U.N. Security Council to intervene to stop the fighting.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .
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