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UN, US Express Deep Concern Over Lebanon-Israel Border Flare-up


Supporters of Hezbollah use a shoe to hit a placard showing U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during an anti-US demonstration near the U.S. Embassy in Aukar, in the outskirts of Beirut

The United Nations and the United States have expressed deep concern about recent violence along the border between Lebanon and Israel.

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to respect the so-called U.N.-imposed Blue Line separating the two countries.

In Washington, the State Department echoed Mr. Annan's appeal, calling on all parties to immediately cease attacks and exercise calm and restraint.

Lebanese-based Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops exchanged heavy fire Friday along a disputed stretch of their border, following days of sporadic shelling from both sides.

Meanwhile, in Beirut, with just two weeks to go before general elections begin, the deadline for candidates to register expired at midnight Friday. Fifty-one hopefuls signed up to contest Beirut's 19 parliamentary seats.

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