The international community on Sunday reacted with shock over the Israeli assault on civilians in the southern Lebanese village of Qana, which killed at least 51 Lebanese, including 22 children.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for external relations and European neighborhood policy, said in a statement that Israel's attack on Qana means an escalation of violence that is unjustifiable at a time when the international community is jointly working to find a solution to the conflict.
The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) said in a press statement that it strongly denounced the "barbaric" Israeli attack on the southern Lebanese village of Qana and the unabated Israeli attacks on Lebanon.
In the statement, AL Secretary-General Amr Moussa called for "an open international investigation into the Qana massacre along with other war crimes committed by Israel in Lebanon, especially those against civilians."
Finland, holding the current presidency of the European Union, said in a statement that Finland is shocked and dismayed by the Israeli air strikes on Qana and there is no justification for attacks causing casualties among innocent civilians.
Egypt issued a presidential statement on Sunday and condemned Israel's attack on Qana as "irresponsible," saying "the dire need of issuing an international resolution on immediately halting military operations."
Egypt also urged the U.N. Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and work on bringing about a halt to Israel's onslaught on the Lebanese people and infrastructure.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneya told reporters before his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that the latest Israeli air raid on Qana was a big shock for the Palestinian government and people.
Syria's official SANA news agency reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad condemned the Israeli attack on the village of Qana as "state terrorism."
In a statement, Jordanian King Abdullah II strongly condemned the Israeli air strike in Qana, saying "this criminal aggression forms a strong violation of the international law." He also called for an immediate ceasefire and a solution to the crisis.
Kuwaiti parliament speaker Jassem al Kharafi said the Israeli "savage and barbaric" aggression against Lebanon surpassed all moral and humanitarian limits, disregarding international law, human rights and the world community.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Sunday urged U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan by telephone to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council to arrange an immediate cease-fire.
The U.N. Security Council will hold emergency consultations later Sunday. The meeting, to be convened at the request of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at 11 a.m (1500 GMT), will likely cover the role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a U.N. diplomat said.
Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Jerusalem Sunday that she was saddened by the bombing and it was time to reach a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hezbollah.
But she reiterated that a ceasefire could not mean a return to the position before the war, which was triggered by Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers on July 12.
Before the government's weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed regret for the civilian deaths in Qana but said Israel would not rush into a ceasefire. Unlike Hezbollah, Israel's policy doesn't seek to harm civilians deliberately, he added.