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Vatican protests
raids on Lebanon

The Vatican, Jul. 14 ( - The Holy See has protested Israel's air raids on Lebanon, condemning both terrorist acts and reprisals that violate national sovereignty and strike at innocent civilians.

With Pope Benedict XVI on vacation in the Italian Alps, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano (pictured), read a public statement on Vatican Radio. That statement was released promptly by the Vatican press office on July 14.

Cardinal Sodano said that the Holy Father was carefully following news of the latest developments in the Middle East, "which risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions."

"As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other," he continued." He argued that Israel's right to self-defense "does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations."

"In particular," the statement continued, "the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation."

Cardinal Sodano concluded his brief statement with a renewed appeal for an end to armed struggle and a renewal of negotiations.

Israeli air strikes beginning on July 12 have killed at least 60 Lebanese this week, and wounded more than 150. The strategic bombing struck at the infrastructure of the country: disabling power plants, destroying bridges, and severing major highways. Meanwhile from their quarters in Lebanon, Hezbollah guerillas launched a series of rocket attacks on targets inside Israel.


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