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Rice sees bombs as birth pangs
Condoleezza Rice has described the plight of Lebanon as a part of the "birth pangs of a new Middle East" and said that Israel should ignore calls for a ceasefire.
"This is a different Middle East. It's a new Middle East. It's hard, We're going through a very violent time," the US secretary of state said.
"A ceasefire would be a false promise if it simply returns us to the status quo.
"Such a step would allow terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing and to threaten innocent people, Arab and Israeli, throughout the region."
She was speaking on Saturday after meeting with members of a United Nations team that had just returned from the region.
More than 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed in 11 days of Israeli air and artillery strikes against Hezbollah, the armed Lebanese Shia group.
The present round of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah broke out after Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.
Rice will travel to the Middle East some time next week. Her itinerary has not yet been announced.
Call for negotiations
Hezbollah has offered to release the two soldiers if Israel frees Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
But Israel has said that Hezbollah must release the soldiers unconditionally and says that it will not halt its offensive until Lebanon implements UN resolution 1559 and disarms Hezbollah.