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UN 'Shocked' At Israeli Strike On UN Troops

President Hosni Mubarak says Israel has gone "way too far" (file photo) (epa) July 28, 2006 -- The U.N. Security Council says it is "deeply shocked and distressed" at an Israeli attack on a UN observer post in Lebanon that killed four peacekeepers.

The statement was passed unanimously on July 27 by the 15-nation council after two days of stormy negotiations.

Diplomats said the United States had refused to agree any statement that criticized Israel or condemned the attack, which killed peacekeepers from Austria, Canada, China and Finland.

China had wanted a more strongly worded condemnation.

The possibility that the UN might play a major role in a possible international peacekeeping force has been ruled out by Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman.

He said more professional and better-trained troops would be needed.

Israeli attacks on targets within Lebanon continue unabated.

The Lebanese health minister said on July 27 that up to 600 civilians are believed to have been killed as a result of the Israeli offensive.

Muhammad Jawad Khalifeh said 382 were confirmed dead and the rest are missing or still buried under the rubble of buildings.

The toll does not include Lebanese Army soldiers or Hizballah fighters.

In 16 days of fighting, 52 Israelis have reportedly been killed, 19 of them civilians.

Israel's security cabinet on July 27 agreed to call up three divisions of reservists, but said there are no plans to widen the military operations.

Israel also continues to strike at alleged militants in Palestine. In the latest attacks, on July 28, Israeli aircraft destroyed several Palestinian homes in different parts of the Gaza Strip, causing a number of casualties. The Israeli army said the strikes targeted homes used to make and store weapons.

However, Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have now pulled out of areas east and north of Gaza City. The army says the two-day operation in the area is now over.

Israel's military campaign on two fronts has outraged public opinion in the Muslim world. In the latest sign of concern by leaders in the region, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak warned that the fighting has "triggered an increasing rage" among Arabs and Muslims.

Answering questions posed by the U.S.-based news magazine "Time," Mubarak said the crisis in Lebanon could have been "contained at its early stage" and said Israel's offensive "went way too far."

Egypt is a major U.S. ally in the region.

(AP, Reuters, dpa, BBC, "Time")