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Home >> China
UPDATED: 17:26, July 26, 2006
Roundup: China condemns Israeli air raid on UN post in Lebanon
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China on Wednesday felt "deeply shocked" by and "strongly condemned" an Israeli air raid on a United Nations post in south Lebanon, and urged for immediate ceasefire.

The air raid killed four UN observers, including one from China.

"China urges the concerned sides, especially Israel, to take tangible measures to ensure the security of UN peacekeepers," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Wednesday.

He called on concerned sides back to the track of talks to seek a political solution.

"China will work with the international community, further diplomatic efforts and push the Middle East situation back to peace and stability at an early date," Liu said.

"We feel deep sorrow for the victims and convey sincere condolences to their families," Liu said.

The Chinese victim Du Zhaoyu was among the four UN peacekeepers killed in the Israeli air strike Tuesday night.

Du, a Lieutenant Colonel of the Chinese People's Liberation Army with a postgraduate degree, was born in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province. He was sent to Lebanon in January this year as a UN observer.

Du worked as secretary to the military attache in the Chinese embassy in India. He had a one-year-old son.

In the last decade, six Chinese military staff have been dead during UN peacekeeping mission.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun called in Israeli Ambassador Yehoyada Haim Wednesday morning and made solemn representations.

"China strongly condemns the activity to raid the UN peacekeeping post and urges Israel to carry out a thorough investigation and apologize to China and the victim's families, and coordinate with China to deal with the aftermath," Zhao told the ambassador.

Yehoyada Haim expressed the Israeli government's apology for the event, pledging to carry out a broad and in-depth investigation to find the truth at an early date.

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya on Wednesday made an emergency call to UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, asking the UN to require Israel to take every measure to ensure the security of UN peacekeepers, including those from China, and look into the event.

The other three dead UN observers were from Finland, Austria and Canada, UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) sources confirmed.

Milos Struger, spokesman of the UNIFIL said earlier that an Israeli bomb directly hit the base of the UN Observer Group in the town of Khiam near the eastern end of the border with Israel.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement that he was "shocked and deeply distressed" by the attack, saying it's "apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defense Forces."

In Jerusalem, Israel expressed regret on Wednesday over the deaths of four UN observers in south Lebanon.

"Israel sincerely regrets the tragic death of the UN personnel in south Lebanon," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

France and New Zealand condemned the bombing. U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also expressed regret over the deaths of UN observers.

Israel has intensified its air raids on Lebanese targets since launching a massive assault on July 12 when Lebanon's Hezbollah guerillas kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed eight in cross-border attacks.

Over 350 Lebanese and 42 Israelis have been killed in the two-week violence.

Some 180 Chinese staff officers, engineers as well as three observers, including Du, were working in Lebanon, as part of the UN peacekeeping mission, according to diplomatic sources.

A 182-member engineering battalion, including a mine-sweeping company, an engineering company, a logistics company and an in-field hospital, was the first Chinese peacekeeping force in Lebanon, which started the mission in late March this year.

China has dispatched 1,413 military staff or police for UN operation till May 31, 2005.

There are nearly 2,000 peacekeepers with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which were launched in March, 1978 based on UN resolutions.

Since 1978, more than 250 military or civil personnel of UNIFIL were dead in mission.

Source: Xinhua

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