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World Slams, US Defends Israel Lebanon "War"
WORLD CAPITALS — Incessant Israeli strikes that have claimed the lives of 52 Lebanese civilians and destroyed the country's infrastructure on Thursday, July13 , drew immediate rebuke from France and Russia, while being defended by Israel's sole ally, the US.
"We obviously condemn this disproportionate act of war," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Europe 1 radio, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"For several hours, there has been a bombardment of an airport of an entirely sovereign country, a friend of France ... this is a disproportionate act of war."
Israeli warplanes killed earlier Thursday at least 47 Lebanese civilians, mostly children, in separate air strikes, wrecking havoc on Lebanon's infrastructure, including Beirut international airport.
Israel also clamped a land, sea, and air assault on Lebanon after two Israeli soldiers were taken prisoners by the Lebanese resistance group Hizbullah.
Douste-Blazy said the Israeli war has two major consequences.
"The first is to force anyone wanting to now enter Lebanon to go either by sea or by Syria," he said.
"The second consequence is to run the risk of plunging Lebanon back into the worst years of war with the departure of Lebanese who will want to flee while they were in the process of rebuilding their country."
France supported "Lebanon's demand for a referral to the United Nations Security Council as soon as possible", he said, asserting that the risk of a regional war "absolutely" existed.
The Lebanese government on Wednesday, July12 , said it was "ready to negotiate through the United Nations and other friends" to resolve the crisis.
A UN source told AFP that Lebanon asked the United Nations to negotiate a ceasefire, but the request had so far been turned down by Israel.
Russia also denounced the Israeli onslaughts on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
"One cannot justify the continued destruction by Israel of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and in Palestinian territory, involving the disproportionate use of force in which the civilian population suffers," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
At least 80 Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded since Israel launched a wide-scale offensive in Gaza Strip on the pretext of seeking the release of a soldier held by Palestinian groups.