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Security Council considers U.S., French truce plan

Amid peace talks, Israel raids Tyre and Hezbollah fires 170 rockets

President Bush meets on Saturday with Condoleezza Rice and national security advisor Stephen Hadley.



Middle East

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council met for several hours Saturday with no word on the fate of a draft resolution to halt the 25-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The proposal is backed by the United States -- Israel's strongest ally -- and France, which historically has close ties to Lebanon. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton called the draft a "fusion" of ideas.

He said the plan would put in place "a lasting solution for the problem. Obviously this resolution alone isn't that solution, but it's the beginning."

"What we all fundamentally want to do ... is not return to the status quo ante," Bolton said to reporters after the meeting began at 3 p.m. ET. "We want this to be a transformational solution that moves the region beyond the problem that has existed for so many years." (Watch how the U.S. and France hammered out a deal -- 2:00)

Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said, however, that the draft was "not adequate."

Hezbollah quickly responded, too, saying it will agree to a cease-fire only when all Israeli soldiers leave Lebanese land. The draft resolution makes no mention of a withdrawal.

It may be several days before the 15-member council votes on the plan to address the violence, which has killed more than 750 people in Lebanon and Israel.

Implementing a peace plan would require cooperation on the ground.

The fighting continued Saturday amid the negotiations. Israel sent commandos to attack a suspected rocket-launching site in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre and launched airstrikes elsewhere in the country. Hezbollah fired 170 rockets into northern Israel, police said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the draft resolution was a "vital first step" that could lead to the cessation of hostilities "literally within the next couple of days."

He said from London that the goal was "to put the government of Lebanon fully and properly in control of the whole of Lebanon, so that Lebanon can get back on its feet and Israel can be secure."

A major sticking point has been Israel's objection to the use of the U.N. Interim Force In Lebanon to keep the peace. UNIFIL was created to confirm Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 1978. Critics say the force is too weak.

The United States has been roundly criticized for not calling for an immediate halt to hostilities.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the United States does not oppose a cease-fire but does not want an agreement that "falls apart practically the minute it's in place" and would then result in a return "to the status quo ante," or the relationship between the two sides before fighting began.

Rockets fly

Hezbollah fired scores of deadly rockets at Israel on Saturday, officials said. (Watch how the two sides continue their assaults -- 3:55)

By 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 170 rockets had struck northern Israel, Israeli police said.

An Israeli woman and her two adult daughters were killed when Hezbollah rockets struck the area of Shlomi in western Galilee, ambulance services said. Thirteen people were injured, one seriously.

Rockets also struck Haifa, hitting two houses and wounding nine people, police said. In Kiryat Shmona, two people were slightly wounded, Israeli authorities told CNN.

In addition, a Hezbollah mortar killed an Israeli soldier when it struck his vehicle in southern Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said.

A barrage of rockets also struck Syrian territory, the second such hit, an IDF spokesman said.

The IDF say at least 78 Israelis have been killed during the conflict, including 45 soldiers, and more than 600 wounded. (View photos from the conflict)

In Lebanon, 683 Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict and more than 2,359 people have been wounded, Lebanese Internal Security Forces reported.

The fighting began on July 12, when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a cross-border raid.

Commandos 'target missile cell'

Israeli commandos dropped from helicopters to attack a five-story building in the northern part of the Lebanese port city of Tyre Saturday, witnesses said.

Thuds sounding like artillery fire could be heard coming from areas east of the city, CNN's Ben Wedeman reported. (Watch the smoking ruins of buildings hit by Israeli strikes -- 1:07)

Israel ordered the commando raid rather than an airstrike to avoid civilian casualties, the military said.

"The apartment was being used by two [to] three senior Hezbollah terrorists who operated a cell responsible for the launching of long-range missiles, including those fired yesterday into Hadera," the IDF said in an official statement, referring to the Israeli town struck on Friday.

"The members of the cell were killed and several IDF soldiers were injured by gunfire and grenade shrapnel," the IDF said in a statement.

Smoke billowed from the building after the raid, witnesses said.

Israeli soldiers carried away four bodies, according to a woman living in an apartment nearby. (Watch how commandos stormed Tyre under the cover of night -- 3:38)

"Everyone we wanted to kill, we killed," an Israeli official told CNN.

Hezbollah disputed the assessment, saying it had successfully repulsed the raid and killed a naval commando, while wounding three others.

The Lebanese army said one of its soldiers was killed and another wounded in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers.

Israeli airstrikes also pounded Beirut early Saturday. At least six explosions were heard in the southern suburbs. The attacks came on the heels of Israeli bombing of the last land routes into the city, effectively cutting it off from relief supplies. (Full story)

CNN's Ben Wedeman, John Vause, Karl Penhaul, John King and Richard Roth contributed to this report.

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