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UN Security Council to Hold Emergency Meeting on Gaza Attacks - 2002-07-24

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting later Wednesday at the request of Arab governments to discuss the Israeli air attack Monday on Gaza City, which killed 15 Palestinians.

Arab diplomats want the Security Council to consider measures to stop what they call a "tragic situation" created by Israeli military action against Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said he regrets the civilian deaths but called Monday's strike a "great success." Among the casualties was the commander of the military wing of the Islamic group Hamas.

Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe of Syria, the only Arab country on the 15-member Security Council, dismissed Israeli denials that civilians were targeted in the raid.

"The Israelis said many times, or proclaimed, they did not aim their attacks against civilians," ambassador Wehbe said, " though it was purely against civilians and in contradiction to the international humanitarian law and Geneva Convention of 1949."

No resolution is likely to be adopted at Wednesday's meeting. But the Arabs are preparing one and expected to use the session to press the Council for action.