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Saudi Arabia Announces Massive Aid for Lebanon


Saudi Arabia has announced humanitarian aid to Lebanon totaling $1.5 billion.

It says $1 billion will support Lebanon's economy and $500 million will go for reconstruction in Lebanon.

Also Tuesday Israel said it will allow planes carrying humanitarian aid to land at Beirut airport and it will open a ground corridor into Lebanon. Israeli authorities say aid agencies will have to coordinate with them.

Humanitarian agencies are hoping to get food and medical supplies to civilians either trapped or injured by the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. The U.N. refugee agency says it is waiting for direct word from Israel of safe passage for supplies from Syria to Lebanon.

Earlier, the United States announced $30 million in aid for victims of the conflict. President Bush says he sees no contradiction in sending humanitarian aid to Lebanon while speeding deliveries of weapons to Israel for use against Hezbollah targets.

As a first step, U.S. troops are distributing medical supplies Tuesday in Lebanon.

A senior State Department official, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, says the first shipment includes medical supplies for 100,000 people and 20,000 blankets.

The United States announced the relief package in response to a U.N. appeal for $150 million to help Lebanese civilians displaced by Israeli bombing and shelling.

Britain has pledged an additional $4 million toward humanitarian relief efforts.

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

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