Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Red Cross: Israel denying safe passage

The Israeli military has denied permission for aid groups to move food and medicine to besieged villages in southern Lebanon for two days, the Red Cross said Monday.

Without guarantees of safe passage, the Red Cross has been unable to move supplies beyond the port city of Tyre to towns and villages south of the Litani River, where thousands of people are believed trapped, said Richard Huguenin, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Litani runs roughly parallel to the Lebanese-Israeli border, about 20 miles to the north. The area between it and the border has been the site of the heaviest Israeli bombardment and ground fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas.

"It is now a question of the humanitarian consequences of what is looking like a blockade," Huguenin told The Associated Press in Tyre.

"At night we ask for permission and in the morning we get either a red light or a green light and for the past 48 hours it has been red," he said.



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