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Lebanon to Complain to Security Council Over Israeli Blockade


The Lebanese government says it will bring the matter of the Israeli sea and air blockade of Lebanon before the United Nations Security Council.

The cabinet says the continued action violates Resolution 1701, which ended the month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Israel says it will continue the blockade until a new U.N. peacekeeping force is in place in southern Lebanon to monitor the ceasefire. It says the blockade is to keep Hezbollah from rearming.

A number of Lebanese legislators are holding a sit-in in parliament to protest the blockade.

Earlier Monday, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Israel and Hezbollah have agreed to U.N. mediation in the prisoner dispute which sparked the war.

Hezbollah kidnapped two Israel soldiers July 12. It wants to swap them for Lebanese prisoners held by Israel.

An Israeli government spokesman said 1701 calls for the soldiers to be freed unconditionally. The spokesman said Mr. Annan will assist in freeing the soldiers, and that a mediator is not needed.

Also Monday, a Qatari Airways flight landed in Beirut in what Lebanese media calls the first breach of the Israeli blockade.

The airline did not say if it asked Israel's permission to land, but Israeli officials say they cleared the flight.

Meanwhile, Qatar has become the first Arab country to pledge troops to the U.N. peacekeeping force.

Qatar is one of only a few Arab countries that recognize Israel.

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