China demands apology for killing of Chinese observer
Updated: 2006-07-26 09:04
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for Israel to investigate what he
called the "apparently deliberate targeting" by Israeli forces of the UN post.
Israeli troops gather as they prepare to cross the border with
Lebanon, in northern Israel, Tuesday, July 25, 2006. [AP
As reports of the attack emerged, Annan rushed out of a
hotel in Rome following a dinner with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.
In a statement released in New York, Annan said he was "shocked and deeply
distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israel Defense Forces of a
UN observer post in southern Lebanon."
Annan said in his statement that the post had been there for a long time and
was marked clearly, and was hit despite assurances from Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert that UN positions would not be attacked.
Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman expressed his "deep regret" for the
deaths and denied the post was intentionally targeted.
Gillerman called the assertions "premature and erroneous."
"I am shocked and deeply distressed by the hasty statement of the
secretary-general, insinuating that Israel has deliberately targeted the UN
post," he said.
He said Israel would investigate the bombing. "We do not have yet information
what caused this death: it could be the IDF (Israel's military) it could be
Hezbollah," he said.
Rescue workers were trying to clear the rubble, but Israeli firing "continued
even during the rescue operation," Struger said.
UN officials said four observers were in the post when the bomb hit, and the
building had been destroyed.
Since Israel launched a massive military
offensive against Lebanon and Hezbollah guerrillas July 12, an international
civilian employee working with UNIFIL and his wife have been killed in the
crossfire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas in the southern port
city of Tyre.
Five UNIFIL soldiers and one military observer have also been wounded,
Hezbollah: Israeli onslaught a surprise
A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrillas did not expect Israel
to react with an all-out offensive after the capture of two soldiers, the first
acknowledgment by the group that it had miscalculated the consequences of the
raid two weeks ago.