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Lebanon: Bodies of Nigerian couple recovered

Posted by By Oluwole Josiah with agency report on 2006/07/27 | Views: 560 |

Lebanon: Bodies of Nigerian couple recovered

The bodies a Nigerian couple killed last week in the Israeli bombing of Lebanon were on Wednesday recovered....

The bodies a Nigerian couple killed last week in the Israeli bombing of Lebanon were on Wednesday recovered.

The Associated Press, quoted Yahoo News as saying that the bodies were dug out of a building outside Tyre.

Although the names of the Nigerians have not been revealed, the AP said one of them(the man) was a civilian worker with the United Nations observer team.

About 150 Nigerians, evacuated from Lebanon have, however, been brought back to the country.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, explained that the evacuees were first taken to Jordan before their return to Nigeria.

Nwabuikwu said the last batch of Nigerians left on July 25, 2006 through Tripoli, Libya and Dubai, United Arab Emirate.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was yet to confirm the identities of the late couple.

“This is, of course, a delicate matter because families are involved and it is critical that the right information be obtained and that relatives be informed first,” Nwabuikwu added.

Last week, the government facilitated the evacuation of 500 people out of Lebanon.

Four hundred and twenty of them were Nigerians while 80 were from other African nations.

Hezbollah, according to the AP, inflicted heavy casualties on Israeli troops on Wednesday as they battled for a key hilltop town in southern Lebanon on Wednesday. About 14 soldiers were killed.

Lebanese officials have also confirmed that four UN observers were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday night.

With Israel facing fiercer resistance than expected in its campaign against the Islamic militants, the Prime Minister, Mr.Ehud Olmert, said Israel wants to establish a 1.2 mile-wide strip in south Lebanon that will be free of Hezbollah guerrillas.

In Rome, Italy, United States, European and Arab officials failed to agree on details for a cease-fire to end 15 days of fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrillas.

The US Secretary of State, Mrs Condoleezza Rice, faced intense pressure for Washington to change its stance and call for an immediate halt to the violence.

Rice insisted any cease-fire must be ”sustainable” and that there could be ”no return to the status quo” - a reference to the US and Israeli stance that Hezbollah must first be pushed back from the border and the Lebanese army backed by international forces deployed in the south.

Participants at a meeting between Olmert and Israeli parliament’s Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the prime minister outlined for the first time, the dimensions of Israel‘s new ”security zone.”

Governments worldwide reacted with shock and issued angry demands for an explanation after an Israeli air strike killed four UN observers in southern Lebanon.

The UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, who was in Rome for the international crisis conference provoked dismay in Israel by suggesting the attack had been deliberate.

”I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli defence forces of a UN observer post in southern Lebanon,” Annan said.

He described the strike as a ”coordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked UN post.”

Ministers attending the Rome meeting held a minute‘s silence for the four observers.

Foreign ministers from China, Japan, South Korea and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc also said on Wednesday that the strike appeared to be deliberate.

”The ministers were deeply shocked and distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by the Israeli Defence Forces of the United Nations Observer post in southern Lebanon,” they said in a statement.

Israel is bent on taking Bint Jbail, a Lebanese town of at about 30,000. It has great symbolic importance for the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah guerrillas.

The town also holds the largest Shiite community in the border area and was known as the ”capital of the resistance” during Israel‘s 1982-90 occupation because of its support for Hezbollah.

An Israeli seizure of the town would rob Hezbollah of a significant refuge overlooking northern Israel and force its fighters to operate from smaller, more vulnerable villages in the south.

Bint Jbail is in a tiny pocket of about six square miles where significant Israeli ground forces have entered southern Lebanon.

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