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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:30, July 14, 2006
Brazil confirms four citizens killed in Israeli strike in Lebanon
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The Brazilian Foreign Ministry on Thursday confirmed the deaths of four Brazilian citizens in an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon.

The ministry said the victims were of the same family who were killed during an attack on a building in the town of Srifa.

The slain citizens were identified as Akil Merhei, 34; his wife Ahlam Jabir, 27; son Ali Alhida Merhei, 8; daughter Fatima Alhida Merhei, 4. They were on holidays in Lebanon when the tragedy occurred.

Their relatives said the couple was born in Lebanon, but lived in Brazil for 10 years and held Brazilian citizenship. The two children were born in Foz do Iguacu, a southern Brazilian town, where the family lived and Akhil worked as a trader and kids' teacher.

The killings have aroused great concern in the Lebanese community in Brazil. It is estimated that at least 200 families living in Brazil are on holidays in Lebanon.

Brazilian diplomats in Beirut do not rule out helping them leave Lebanon if the conflict escalates.

Israeli Ambassadress to Brazil Tzipora Rimon said Thursday that Israel regrets the deaths of the Brazilian citizens who are civilians not involved in terrorism.

Israel pounded Lebanon following a cross-border attack by Lebanese Hezbollah militants on Wednesday, during which two Israeli soldiers were captured.

At least 55 Lebanese civilians have been killed since Israel began a land, sea and air assault on Lebanon in response to Wednesday's attack, according to the al-Jazeera TV channel.

The deterioration of the situation has caused International concerns. The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the conflict in Lebanese-Israeli border area. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is sending a three-person team to the Middle East to defuse the tension.

Source: Xinhua


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