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Red Cross Official Arrives in Israel to Discuss Humanitarian Conditions


The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross is in Israel for talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the region's humanitarian situation.

The Red Cross says Jakob Kellenberger reached Israel Wednesday by road from the embattled southern Lebanese port of Tyre, where he spent two days surveying conditions.

Kellenberger is expected to discuss humanitarian conditions in northern Israel and southern Lebanon with Mr. Olmert and the Israeli foreign and defense ministers.

Meanwhile, aid agencies said Wednesday that desperately needed humanitarian relief is being paralyzed after the Israeli bombing of roads and bridges severed routes to the hardest-hit areas of southern Lebanon.

Kellenberger said during his visit to Tyre Tuesday that it is vital to re-establish access to south Lebanon, cut off by an indefinite Israeli ban on movement in the region.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. World Food Program said relief agencies are looking for alternative ways to provide fuel and other aid to Lebanese civilians isolated by heavy fighting in the south.

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

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